McLeod Announces Transition in Leadership

Donna Isgett (’11) has been promoted to President and Chief Executive Officer at McLeod Health. She begins her role on March 1, 2021.

November 9, 2020

(Florence, SC November 9, 2020)  McLeod Health today announced the promotion of Chief Operating Officer Donna Isgett to President and CEO effective March 1, 2021.  Isgett takes on the role held by Rob Colones since 2002. Colones will continue with the 18-county health system as President Emeritus, an advisory position to assist the new CEO while providing an historical perspective and guidance to the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.

“I’ve spent the last year visiting our hospitals and teams on all campuses and all shifts, talking with everyone from clinical to administrative and environmental control people,” said Isgett.  “I’ve seen the evidence of Rob’s work as a transformative leader, giving us a health system that’s tremendously visible in many communities, offering high quality care and sustaining a fiscally sound financial picture.

“It is a privilege and honor to accept this challenge and continue to move the organization through a new chapter of healthcare at this critical time in our industry,” she added.

“Donna has the experience, skills and personal qualities needed to successfully address the issues of a complex and rapidly changing healthcare environment,” stated Colones. “Working with Donna for more than two decades, I can testify that she is data-driven, an agent of change and a collaborative partner.”

Isgett joined McLeod Health in 1997 and currently as Chief Operating Officer is responsible for the oversight of administrators at the seven McLeod hospitals. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing from the Medical University of South Carolina and MBA from Duke University. She spent the majority of her clinical career as an emergency flight nurse.  Since joining McLeod, she has served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Quality, helping McLeod gain a national reputation for quality of care, and has also had oversight of McLeod Physician Associates, a network of 90  physician practices stretching from the  midlands to the coast.

Since 2013, Isgett served as a member of the South Carolina Hospital Association Board of Trustees and in 2020 was named board chair. She is also on the Coker University (Hartsville, SC) Board of Trustees.  She served as co-chair of the 2005 Institute Healthcare Improvement Forum. Isgett has been the recipient of the Milliken Medal of Quality from the South Carolina Quality National Forum and the Lewis Blackman Patient Safety Award from the South Carolina Hospital Association. She was a 2011 Liberty Fellow at the Aspen Global Institute.

“One of the reasons we did not undertake a national search is that Donna combines the best elements of both an inside and an outside candidate for CEO,” said McLeod Board Chair Ben Zeigler. “While playing a key operational role in providing exceptional quality care, Donna is also recognized for her work at state and national levels on the larger and dynamic health care issues of our time. She is extremely competent and a leader among leaders.”

“For over two decades, McLeod Health has distinguished itself as a leader in health care, with its outstanding focus on the quality of clinical care, continuous improvement, and making a difference in the patient experience on behalf of millions of people that the organization serves. This remarkable work, engaging the deep commitment of staff and leaders working collaboratively, has produced superlative outcomes for patients, families, and the community,” according to Donald Berwick, MD, MPP., President Emeritus & Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.  “Success like that requires purposeful, deliberate efforts and real vision.”

“The state of South Carolina is fortunate to have McLeod as a nationally recognized health care system, as well as the inspiring leadership of Rob Colones and Donna Isgett.  For many years, Rob and Donna have been major participants in the movement toward improving the quality of health care in the United States.  McLeod has been a high performer in national quality programs that address the “Triple Aim” of better care for individuals, better health for populations, and lower cost through focusing on care that truly works for people. At McLeod, pursuing quality improvement is not a project or initiative; it is woven into the fabric of the organization. Clinical excellence and the passionate pursuit of perfection will be Rob’s legacy. Donna now follows that with her remarkable leadership skills, able to advance McLeod through even greater challenges and putting her own imprint on McLeod’s journey. Donna will without doubt lead that superb system into a future of ever-better health and health care for the communities it serves,” stated Berwick.

“The South Carolina Hospital Association joins the McLeod Health family in celebrating this leadership transition,” said Thornton Kirby, President & CEO of the South Carolina Hospital Association. “During his distinguished service as CEO, Rob Colones led McLeod Health on a journey to become a physician-led system with a national reputation for the highest quality of care. His humble leadership style has often allowed others to enjoy the spotlight, but Rob’s impact on the lives of Pee Dee residents will be felt for generations.”

Kirby added, “Donna Isgett brings her own dynamic leadership style to the helm of McLeod Health. As Chairman of our Hospital Association Board during this extraordinary pandemic, Donna has demonstrated the same perseverance and emotional intelligence that helped earn McLeod’s national reputation for quality. All of South Carolina has benefitted from her efforts this year to unify the hospital community and to work in partnership with the Governor’s Office and DHEC to save lives. I have every expectation that McLeod Health will continue to thrive under Donna’s leadership.”

Robert Colones, a native of Sumter and a member of the McLeod management team since 1981, was appointed President & CEO in 2002.  Under his leadership, McLeod Health experienced physical growth, adding hospitals in Cheraw, Manning, Little River and Loris. Development began on the 43-acre Carolina Forest campus in Horry County. Colones cultivated a culture based on the McLeod Health Vision of being The Choice for Medical Excellence and its core values of the value of quality, of caring, of the person and of integrity. He fostered the growth and training of new leaders who could mentor their successors.

The McLeod Board of Trustees will undertake a national search, including consideration of outstanding internal talent, for a health care leader to fill the Chief Operating Officer role.

McLeod Health
Founded in 1906, McLeod Health is a locally owned and managed, not-for-profit organization supported by the strength of approximately 750 members of its medical staff and more than 2,000 registered nurses. McLeod Health is also composed of approximately 8,500 employees and more than 90 physician practices throughout its 18-county service area reaching from the South Carolina Midlands to the Coast. Hospitals within McLeod include McLeod Regional Medical Center, McLeod Behavioral Health, McLeod Health Dillon, McLeod Health Loris, McLeod Health Seacoast, McLeod Health Cheraw and McLeod Health Clarendon. The 43-acre Carolina Forest campus is envisioned with seven buildings offering primary care, outpatient services and a hospital.