Sarah Bush Lincoln President & CEO Jerry Esker recently announced his retirement from the organization effective at the end of the July.
SBL Board of Directors Chairperson Tina Stovall said, “Jerry has been a tremendous leader during his six-year tenure as the CEO. Sarah Bush Lincoln has never been stronger or experienced greater growth in its 45-year history. The board has enjoyed his leadership. He will be missed.” He notified the board of his intentions to retire last Fall.
In the last six years, SBL has opened seven newly constructed primary care clinics, a free-standing Regional Cancer Center and Surgery Center, a Heart Center, 22 additional patient rooms, and a multi-clinic building in Effingham. Two other multi-clinic buildings were purchased in Effingham 2019 and 2021. SBL recently broke ground on another 20-bed expansion to enlarge the Critical Care Unit, create a Step-Down Care Unit and expand the Lumpkin Education Center on the north side of the Health Center. Construction on a Hospice House on the main campus north of the Health Center is slated to begin later this summer. SBL now employs nearly 3,000 people including SBL Fayette County Hospital, and more than 400,000 patient visits occur at 46 SBL medical clinics throughout the area.
Sarah Bush Lincoln’s footprint has expanded to the south with the acquisition of a six-physician and six-advanced practice provider orthopedic group, a busy general surgery practice and hand surgeon practice, and three large family practice clinics. SBL is a partial owner of Effingham Ambulatory Surgery Center and also owns Fayette County Hospital in Vandalia. Its service area covers 10 counties: Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Moultrie, and Shelby counties.
Esker said, “This has truly been a wonderful ride, and a privilege to lead our community Health Center and have a hand in its growth.”
Esker joined Sarah Bush Lincoln in 1985 as a staff pharmacist. After spending 18 years as the director of Pharmacy, he was named vice president of Practice Management in 2007. In that role, he was administratively responsible for oversight of the physician network and for daily operations of hospital-owned clinics. He was named CEO in July 2016.
Stovall explained that the board executive committee conducted a CEO search to replace Esker with the help of Arthur J. Gallagher, a recruitment firm. It first developed an organizational profile and then interviewed the executive team, physicians and board members to gather thoughts and expectations. An announcement regarding the next SBL President and CEO is expected in the coming weeks.