Former Martha’s Vineyard Hospital CEO Joe Woodin has a new job about as far away from the Vineyard as one could get and still be in the United States.
Woodin, who was abruptly fired last June after a little more than a year on the job, is the new CEO of South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska.
“It’s beautiful. It’s stunningly beautiful,” Woodin told The Times. Homer is about 200 miles from Anchorage. “In Alaska parlance, that’s right next door.”
Woodin said he’s landed at a hospital very similar to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. “I’m very happy. It’s a great fit,” he said. “It’s a small independent community hospital with an attached nursing home. The VNA is under their ownership and control.”
Homer is a tourist community that people flock to in the summertime and with businesses that shutter for the winter, he said. It’s a port for cruise ships.
Woodin’s departure from Martha’s Vineyard Hospital prompted community groups to begin asking questions about the Island hospital’s transparency.
Last month, Denise Schepici, a long-time seasonal visitor of the Island, took the reins of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital after a search that included the use of a private consultant.
According to a press release, Woodin’s hiring was announced Tuesday. Much like he did on the Vineyard, Woodin is taking over a hospital where a long-time CEO recently retired.
Woodin starts his new job at the end of March.
Woodin came to the Vineyard after a long-time stint with a Vermont hospital and after his wife died of cancer. He had purchased a home in Oak Bluffs shortly before he was fired by board of trustees chairman Timothy Sweet.
Sweet and his wife, Rachel Vanderhoop — the hospital’s development director, initially sent out a press release stating that Woodin had stepped down, but even before he left the building that day, Woodin was telling the press and his co-workers that he’d been fired.
Woodin said his home in Oak Bluffs is on the real estate market.
In a press release announcing Woodin’s hiring, Tom Clark, chairman of the hospital’s search committee and vice president of the board of directors, said Woodin offers “a blend of visionary leadership with practical, hands-on experience.”
The release states that Woodin was selected from among dozens of candidates that were screened by a search committee.
“During his four-day site visit, Mr. Woodin immediately connected with the community, the organization and the employees,” Clark said, according to the release. “We feel fortunate to have him as our next CEO.”
Woodin feels fortunate, too, for his new opportunity and for the outpouring he received in the wake of his ouster — not something you often see for a chief executive.
“I will miss the Vineyard tremendously. I do hope to return as a resident,” Woodin said. “The people have been incredibly kind and sympathetic to my challenges and it’s been really touching. It’s something I will never forget, just how generous and kind people have been.”