Hospital board names new CEO

Lee Isley.jpg

Lee Isley, new CEO of Nash UNC Health Care


Staff Writer

Thursday, January 18, 2018

After a six-month search, Nash UNC Health Care’s Board of Commissioners announced Wednesday that it has named a new chief executive officer to lead the hospital.

Dr. L. Lee Isley will take the helm on April 1 as the organization’s new president and CEO. Isley, who has board certification in health care management as an American College of Healthcare Executives Fellow, has served as CEO for Granville Health System in Oxford since 2006 and has held a variety of roles in his 30-year health care career, according to a press release from the hospital.

“Lee brings a wealth of experience in providing quality health care in rural communities,” Nash UNC Health Care Board of Commissioners Chairman James M. Lilley said in a statement. “We reviewed a superior slate of candidates from all over the country and are thrilled to have found an exceptional leader who understands health care in North Carolina.”

Dorsey Tobias, director of marketing and communications for Nash UNC Health Care, said the board went through an intensive process to reach its decision.

“Our search committee was comprised of a diverse subgroup of board members representing the physician community and the general community, plus one representative from UNC Health Care. The committee reviewed a number of highly qualified candidates from across the country. Interviews were held with board members, Nash UNC Health Care corporate officers and UNC Health Care leaders. The subcommittee reviewed feedback from all interviews to finalize a recommendation of final candidate to the full board, which the board approved,” Tobias, said.

Isley, a native of Burlington, earned his bachelor’s degree in Emergency Care Management from Western Carolina University, a Masters of Business Administration from Elon University, and  a Doctorate of Philosophy in Community Health / Public Health from The University of Tennessee. 

“I am looking forward to working with the board, medical staff and hospital staff in continuing the progress made at Nash over the last several months,” Isley said. “My family and I are excited to become a part of the community.” 

Though Isley will lead Nash UNC Health Care, Tobias said he will technically be employed by UNC Hospitals.

“Nash UNC Health Care is a managed affiliate of UNC Health Care,” Tobias said. “Nash UNC’s CEO is a part of UNC Health Care’s central management team. Employees who work exclusively for the state entity, UNC Hospitals, are employed by that organization.”

As such, Isley’s contract information will not be available to the public, Tobias said.

“All employees who are part of UNC Health Care’s central management, except those who work only at UNC Hospitals, are hired through the payroll system operated by UNC REX Healthcare, which is not a North Carolina governmental entity and therefore not subject to Chapter 132, the Public Records Act,” Tobias said.

A national CEO search began in July after former CEO Larry Chewning was asked to resign. Dr. Ian B. Buchanan, chief research officer for UNC Health Care System and senior vice president of operations at UNC Hospitals at Chapel Hill, has served as interim CEO at Nash UNC Health Care since September 2017.

“With the help of a highly committed board, Ian has led Nash through a significant period of change in the last five months, refocusing the organization on providing patient-centered, high-quality care while also changing operations in order to achieve financial stability through challenging times in the industry,” Chris Ellington, president of UNC Health Care Network Hospitals, said in the press release. “Coming in on this backdrop, Lee is well poised to continue improvements to operations and the patient experience.”

Isley, 52, and his wife, Melissa, have four children.

Isley will be the fourth permanent CEO of the hospital since it opened about 50 years ago. Other former CEO’s include Rick Toomey and Bryant Aldridge, who first served in that position.