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Executive Sheila Clough to leave Asante and join Mercy Flights as CEO

Sheila Clough, senior vice president and CEO of Asante Ashland, will leave the hospital after nearly seven years to become chief executive of Mercy Flights, the emergency transport company based in Medford. Her last day is June 12. CEO Scott…

Sheila Clough, senior vice president and CEO of Asante Ashland, will leave the hospital after nearly seven years to become chief executive of Mercy Flights, the emergency transport company based in Medford. Her last day is June 12.

CEO Scott Kelly made the announcement yesterday.

“Sheila has made a tremendous contribution to Asante Ashland Community Hospital and to our system as a whole,” Kelly told Asante News. “Her leadership helped turn around a financially struggling hospital, and her management style has helped create a strong, engaged workforce. While we will miss her, we wish her the best in her new chapter.”

Clough joined Asante in 2013 shortly after it acquired the Ashland hospital. She developed a strategic plan and spearheaded the successful effort to restore financial stability.

Among her many accomplishments, Clough helped establish Asante Ashland as a designated ICAR (Infection Control, Assessment and Response) facility during the Ebola crisis.

Asante is now using the ICAR isolation care model during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also cemented the reputation of the hospital’s Family Birth Center as a destination for families seeking alternative birthing experiences, including water births. Clough oversaw renovation of the birth center in 2016, personally choosing the artful photography featuring infants born at the center. Working closely with Asante Physician Partners, she helped establish a midwifery program, which now has four certified midwives.

Clough strengthened Asante Ashland’s orthopedic surgery services, ensuring that patients who need joint replacements and other procedures could be served close to home. Ashland surgical standards and other quality measures helped the hospital twice earn five stars for overall quality from CMS, vaulting the 49-bed facility into an elite group of high-performing hospitals. As a result of Clough’s focus on patient-centered care, AACH also has earned among the highest patient experience scores in the nation. In 2015 she was tasked with leading strategic planning for the Contact Center, bringing together technology, infrastructure and services to create Asante’s first centralized customer service center.

Outside Asante, Clough is an active community leader, serving on the Board of Trustees for Southern Oregon University and the Ashland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Before joining Asante, she served as president of Ministry Health Care in Wisconsin. She attended University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and is a Fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives.

At Mercy Flights, Clough will oversee a 70-year-old nonprofit with more than 150 employees and a fleet of ambulances, helicopters and fixed-wing planes. She succeeds longtime chief executive Doug Stewart, who retired in January.

“I am so grateful to have worked within the Asante organization for the past seven years. It has given me an opportunity to work with so many talented and compassionate people who truly care about this community,” Clough said. “Asante is an outstanding organization to work and provides excellent health care to this valley. As I transition to my next role I am thrilled to continue partnering with Asante and am relieved to know my family will continue to have access to world class health care in the valley.”

Clough’s resignation is AACH’s second high-profile departure in as many months. Nursing Vice President Susan Montgomery (pictured with Clough and therapy dog Porter) retires on May 29 after 11 years with AACH. Amanda Kotler will assume Montgomery’s responsibilities along with her current role as ARRMC’s nursing VP.

No decision has been made on Clough’s replacement. “In response to these uncertain economic times, I am working with the executive team to determine the leadership structure that will best serve the Ashland community locally and leverage the strength of our organization’s systemwide resources,” Kelly said. “As these plans are finalized in the coming days, we will reach out directly to employees who will be most affected by the change.”

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