Rural Health CEO leaving after three years

Matthew Clay

By Carol Vaughn

The chief executive officer of Eastern Shore Rural Health System, the massive nonprofit local healthcare provider, has resigned after less than three years on the job. 

ESRH Board President Dr. Betty Bibbins accepted a letter of resignation from CEO Matthew Clay, effective Jan. 30, 2023, according to a press release.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Matt and, on behalf of the entire board of directors, we wish him the best,” said Bibbins.

Clay became CEO in January 2020, succeeding Nancy Stern, who retired after 37 years with the organization, including 20 years as CEO.

He was hired after a four-month selection process.

Amy Bull, director of communications and development, declined to give the CEO’s salary.

“I appreciate the numerous partnerships forged and friendships made on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,” said Clay. 

“We have an opportunity to be closer to family and we’ve made the difficult decision to relocate,” he said, adding, “It has been my pleasure working for and serving Rural Health and our community. My family and I cannot thank you enough for welcoming us here on the Shore.”

Rural Health has 325 employees, including 48 providers, 128 clinical support staff, and 149 administrative staff. 

Last fiscal year the health care organization saw 30,607 patients and provided a total of 108,305 visits, including 81.779 medical visits, 2,756 behavioral healthcare visits, and 23,770 dental visits, according to Bull.

Clay came to the Eastern Shore from Michigan, where he was executive director of health services at Pokagon Health Services in Dowagiac, Mich.

The health service is the primary care provider for Native American residents in Michigan and Indiana.

 The Rural Health board has a succession plan in place, according to the release.

An interim CEO will be named within the next 30 days to allow for Clay to work with his temporary replacement.

The interim CEO will be in place until a permanent successor is hired.

Nonprofit tax filings showed the CEO earned an annual salary of $207,689 during the 2021 fiscal year.

Rural Health reported total revenues of $31.2 million that year.

An announcement will be made once the interim CEO is in place, according to the release.

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