Dr. William Hathaway will be the next Mountain Area Health Education Center CEO, the organization announced Jan. 6.
Hathaway will leave his role as senior vice president and chief medical officer at Mission Health and start with MAHEC on Feb. 7, according to a news release. MAHEC is not part of the HCA Healthcare system, which owns Mission.
Mission, the largest hospital system in Western North Carolina, has been beset with controversy since it was sold to the for-profit HCA in 2019, with hundreds of patient complaints to the attorney general’s office, protests by nurses and an anti-trust lawsuit filed in 2020.
“My leaving has absolutely nothing to do with patients’ complaints or nurse complaints,” he said by phone Jan. 6, calling his future role at MAHEC a “wonderful opportunity.”
He has been in his current role at Mission since 2013 and recently has provided authoritative guidance for the public and local governments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve come to know MAHEC well over the past 22 years while working and living in Western North Carolina,” Hathaway said in a statement.
“I have been awed by the organization’s commitment to patient care, serving the underserved, educating the next generation of healthcare workers, and meaningfully improving the health and wellness of our 16-county community. The opportunity to advance these goals is something I could not pass up.”
MAHEC conducted a nationwide search for a CEO after Dr. Jeffrey Heck announced in August he would resign.
“Dr. Hathaway is extraordinarily qualified to lead our rapidly growing organization as we strive to meet our region’s healthcare needs during this challenging and exciting time,” Heck said in a statement.
“He has helped guide MAHEC’s mission and programs for many years as a board member and now as our board chair. His steady presence as chief medical officer for Mission Health during the transition to HCA Healthcare and throughout the pandemic has been a great benefit to our community.”
Hathaway has been on MAHEC’s board of directors since 2014.
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He’s also worked with the organization to expand graduate medical education programs and clinical training opportunities in the region.
Hathaway has been a practicing cardiologist in Asheville since 1999. He did his residency training at Duke University in Durham, where he also trained in cardiovascular medicine.
According to the release, Hathaway was with Asheville Cardiology Associates and Mission Health for a combined 23 years.
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“We are deeply indebted to Bill Hathaway for his years of service at Mission Health and are incredibly happy to see him take this next step in his career as CEO of MAHEC,” HCA Healthcare North Carolina Division President Greg Lowe said in a statement.
“Bill has cared for this community in many roles at Mission, and we are grateful that through our long-time partnership with MAHEC, we will continue to work together for the health and well-being of the areas we are privileged to serve.”
MAHEC was established in 1974 and serves a 16-county WNC region.
Andrew Jones is Buncombe County government and health care reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow or reach him at @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter. Email him at [email protected]