He says he and his family want to be closer to relatives in Ohio, where he's accepted another position.

    RiverView Health President/CEO Ross Matlack has resigned. He told the Times late Friday morning that he and his family want to be closer to their families in Ohio, where Matlack spent most of his career in the healthcare industry prior to coming to Crookston in the summer of 2010. He said he's accepted a position in the healthcare industry in Ohio, but said he is unable to identify his new employer until next week. His last day at the RiverView helm will be May 23.

    "It's bittersweet in the context that I have great people I get to work with here every day," Matlack said in a phone interview. "The sweet part from my family's perspective is we're moving back fairly close to where our families are."

    RiverView's "leadership team" met Friday morning after Matlack announced his resignation to the staff via email. The RiverView Healthcare Association Board of Directors will soon meet to take the initial steps toward crafting a transition plan. When Deb Boardman resigned from RiverView, a national search that took several months eventually resulted in Matlack's hiring. During the search, an interim president/CEO was named at RiverView.

    If another national search is made, Matlack said another interim leader would need to be named. But he deferred to the board on any decisions on how RiverView goes about finding his successor. "We have some phenomenal people in leadership here," he said. "It's possible we might look internally; we have enough talent that maybe we don't need a national search."

   Speaking on behalf of the RiverView Healthcare Association Board, Anne Rasmusson, board chair, told the Times Friday afternoon that "we wish nothing but the best for Ross and his family." The board needs to meet and figure out what next steps to take, she said. "Meanwhile, we will not sway from our mission, which is to provide excellent patient care," Rasmusson said.

    Matlack and his wife, Lori, have four children. He said when Lori's grandfather was hospitalized several months ago, the level of homesickness felt by his family greatly intensified. "It really affected us and we've been feeling awful about not being there," he said. "It was kind of a wake-up call."

    Here's the text of Matlack's email to RiverView staff Thursday, which he forwarded to the Times:

    "It is with regret that I inform you that earlier this evening I submitted my resignation to the RiverView Health Board of Directors, with an effective date of May 23rd.  After extensive consideration of what is best for our family, Lori and I have concluded that our children need to be with their cousins, grandparents and great-grandparents more than once per year (and so do we), and that family draw is very powerfully calling us 'back East.'

     "It has been and is a privilege to be part of this organization, and I am intensely proud of the progress we have made and the care we provide.  We are on a journey, one that involves the relentless pursuit of excellence in how we provide patient care.  Sometimes this journey is very hard, but the results speak for themselves -- from CAP accreditation, to Joint Commission, to significant improvements in patient satisfaction and volume growth, RiverView Health is on the move, and the more we achieve, the easier it becomes to deal with some of the harder issues.

    "Healthcare is entering an extended period of uncertainty, and RiverView has many challenges to overcome in the short-run...but by remembering we are a team and focusing on our core values, our standards, and our mission, we can overcome anything that the world can throw at us.

    "As we work through the next two months, our Board and Senior Leadership Team will be working closely to develop a transition plan and begin the search process for the next CEO.  We are very fortunate to have some truly outstanding leaders (Carrie Michalski, Sandy Boice, Betty Arvidson, Jean Tate, Chris Bruggeman, and Dr. Afonya), and we do not expect anything but consistency in our continued pursuit of becoming a world class organization.

     "Thank you for all you do to make RiverView such a special place."