Mission Health’s chief medical officer is leaving his role to join Mountain Area Health Education as CEO. According to a news release, William Hathaway, MD, will assume his new role February 7, succeeding Jeffery Heck, MD, who announced his retirement in August after a decade leading MAHEC.
"I am grateful for my time with Mission Health and HCA Healthcare and look forward to our continued partnership in my new role," Dr. Hathaway said in the news release. He has been a practicing cardiologist in Asheville since 1999 and has served as Mission’s CMO since 2013.
2021 was a turbulent year for the Asheville-based hospital system, starting with the departure of dozens of physicians amid contract disputes with HCA, which bought Mission Health in 2019. Nurses at Mission Hospital have continued to voice concerns about staffing shortages, and patients have filed complaints about quality of care.
Hathaway told the Asheville Citizen Times his leaving has nothing to do with patients’ complaints or nurse complaints, calling his future role at MAHEC a "wonderful opportunity."
“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,” Dr. Heck said in the news release. “He has helped guide MAHEC’s mission and programs for many years as a board member and now as our board chair. “
"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,” shared Greg Lowe, president of HCA Healthcare North Carolina Division. “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.”
Located in Asheville, MAHEC was established in 1974 and serves a 16-county region in Western North Carolina. It is one of nine Area Health Education Centers in North Carolina.