The Sarah Bush Lincoln Board of Directors named Jerry Esker, RPh, president and CEO of Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System.
Esker, who has served as interim president & CEO since late July, has been with the organization for more than 30 years. He began his career at Sarah Bush Lincoln in 1985 as a staff pharmacist. Within three years, Esker was pharmacy director, and in 2007 he was named vice president of Practice Management.
“The board members have known and worked with Jerry for many years,” Steve Wente, board chairperson, said. “He led the Practice Management division for nine years and has proven time and again what a knowledgeable and valuable asset he is to Sarah Bush Lincoln.”
As the vice president of Practice Management, Esker led the division’s strategic growth by increasing the number of employed medical staff members from 78 to 147 and virtually eliminating resignations by medical staff members. Over that same time period, clinic office visits rose from 185,000 a year to 286,000 a year, and medical staff satisfaction improved from the sub-median level to the 90th percentile nationally by 2013.
Wente added that the sustained growth of Practice Management is directly correlated with the success of the entire Health System. During the same time period, physician revenue more than doubled.
“Over the last few months, Jerry has been a trusted leader moving Sarah Bush Lincoln forward as it executes its strategic plan. His focus and the focus of the entire staff is patient safety, service and the implementation of Cerner, the organization’s new operating system,” Wente said.
In response to the announcement, Esker said, “I am humbled that the board of directors asked me to lead Sarah Bush Lincoln. I’ve been part of this organization almost from the beginning and have enjoyed contributing to its success. I am excited about our future and the many ways we can positively impact the health of our community.”
Sarah Bush Lincoln has 2,266 employees and is a growing healthcare organization. Construction of its new Regional Cancer Center is complete and will open to patients on Nov. 7. Construction continues on a new Casey Clinic, and renovations continue inside the hospital on 3 West, 2 East, 2 West and Sterile Processing. The Health Center recently purchased acreage adjacent to its current Walk-In Clinic in Mattoon to build a freestanding building to accommodate the volume of people seeking care there. Construction began this month.
A Teutopolis native, Esker has lived in Charleston for more than 30 years with his wife, Lana, who recently retired from the Charleston School District. They have five children. Active in the community, he’s a member of the Coles Together board of directors, served as board member of the Charleston Community Unit One School District, Sexual Assault Counseling & Information Services and Charleston Education Foundation (past president). Additionally, he has served on the Illinois Hospital Association Mid-level Provider Task Force.