Cornerstone Care, CEO Robert MtJoy retires after 27 years of Service
When Robert MtJoy retires from his position as long-time chief executive officer (CEO) at Cornerstone Care this month, he will leave behind an impressive legacy at the nonprofit network of federally qualified health centers in southwestern Pennsylvania.
After serving as the organization’s CEO for the past 27 years, the 64-year-old Greene County native said he is filled with mixed emotions as he prepares to step down and turn over the reins of the operation to his successor within the next few weeks.
“The board has selected three finalists for the position, and I was told board members will be ready to make a decision by the end of June,” MtJoy said. “My retirement was supposed to be effective June 11, but I did promise the board members that I am flexible if they needed more time to find my replacement.
“We give a lot to our jobs, and I gladly gave everything I had,” he added. “It’s been a frenetic pace for which I have most of the blame, as we all struggle to strike the right balance between work and personal life. Now is the time for me to make this change.”
After he retires, MtJoy said he plans to spend time with his wife and family. MtJoy and his wife, Sunny, recently celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. The couple plans to travel in the U.S., Canada and maybe Mexico.
MtJoy said he bought a camper, and he might use it to visit national parks which he loves. An avid bicyclist, he has already traveled the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. MtJoy said he has bicycled as many as 100 miles on a single day. He looks forward to future bicycling adventures.
Sunny, MtJoy’s wife, said jokingly, “She has heard it 100 times from Bob that once this project is done, his life will settle down. He simply won’t say he can’t help.”
In addition to traveling and bicycling, MtJoy said he decided to leave the door open for new opportunities. It didn’t take long for another opportunity to come along. MtJoy recently accepted a consulting position at the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), a federal agency that funds various health care programs throughout the nation.
MtJoy said he accepted the HRSA consulting position because he remains passionate about the federally qualified health center mission to provide quality primary care services to all people, regardless of the ability to pay.
“I have been blessed to be in the company of those who made a career of helping others who are less fortunate,” he said. “And I am thankful for the opportunities to lead and change. Working at Cornerstone Care has been an honor.”
MtJoy is a graduate of West Liberty University with a double major in psychology and sociology and a graduate of the Johnson & Johnson / UCLA Health Care Executive Program. He also completed graduate work at West Virginia University. He served as Deputy Director of Community Services at Community Action Southwest before accepting the CEO position at Cornerstone Care.
Barbara Cole, president of Cornerstone’s Board of Directors, said it has been a pleasure to work with MtJoy over the years.
“He is dedicated to the success of Cornerstone Care and will be greatly missed,” Cole said.
Hugo Berardi, CFO at Cornerstone Care, said MtJoy’s impactful contributions to Cornerstone Care are far too numerous to mention.
“But without doubt, Bob’s continued and relentless passion in providing the populations of our service area communities the opportunities for quality and affordable healthcare stand out,” Berardi said.
“Over his long tenure, Bob has successfully guided not only the growth of the corporation but championed the unique and complex balance of healthcare reform and financial awareness that it takes to successfully operate in today’s healthcare delivery system,” Berardi added. “I will miss his work ethic, leadership and friendship.”
Richard T. Rinehart, chief of operations and development at Cornerstone Care, commended MtJoy for the significant impact he has made in the communities the nonprofit organization has served.
“If you know Cornerstone Care’s tremendous progress during the last 25 years in developing medical, dental and mental health services for underserved communities, then you know the extraordinary impact Bob MtJoy’s leadership has made for people in the region,” Rinehart said.
“Bob’s tireless efforts transformed a small health center in Greensboro into a regional network serving over 20,000 patients yearly,” Rinehart added. “Now that’s a legacy.”
When MtJoy accepted the CEO position 27 years ago, Cornerstone Care operated out of a two-story 19th century brick house, a former coal mining superintendent’s home located on the banks of the Monongahela River in Greensboro. A second site in Bobtown was located in a former Catholic Church.
“The buildings were not designed to be health care facilities or to recruit or retain health care professionals such as doctors and dentists,” he said.
Both facilities were a result of a group of citizens that organized a board of directors in 1978 to provide health care where none had existed, according to MtJoy. The first doctors joined the organization in 1981. Shortly after, dental care began in a small country church building.
Now, Cornerstone Care serves more than 22,000 patients each year. Patients can register to see family practice doctors, psychiatrists, pediatricians, therapists, dentists, hygienists, orthodontists, podiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and a chiropractor.
When Cornerstone Care first opened, MtJoy said the nonprofit’s budget was $720,000. It has continued to rapidly increase over the years until it reached $15 million.
“We have grown 2000 percent which is amazing,” he said. “We’re very proud of the fact that Cornerstone is now 20 times larger than it was in the beginning. When we started, we had about 15 employees. Today, we have 172.”
MtJoy said Cornerstone Care’s success is founded on partnerships with public and private organizations and the communities it serves. In fact, at two points in his career he was the CEO for two federally qualified health center organizations simultaneously before they joined Cornerstone Care.
In 1989, community volunteers helped build the organization’s first modern facility, a 12,000-square-foot building in Greensboro. Two years later, MtJoy said the organization bought a vacant facility in Rogersville that had been the former West Greene Health Services.
In 1997, Cornerstone Care merged with the Community Medical Center of Northwest Washington County, an existing community health center, to create the Community Medical and Dental Services Plaza near Burgettstown in rural northwestern Washington County. Pediatric Associates of Washington, which also served low-income communities, was added in 2005.
In 2008, Central Greene Pediatrics in Waynesburg was added. Two years later, a building was constructed and Waynesburg Psychiatry, Counseling and Dental Offices opened its doors.
Cornerstone Care entered into an agreement with Fayette County Community Action Agency Inc. in June 2009 to manage Community Medical Services, a federally qualified health center-look-alike in Uniontown. In May 2010, Cornerstone Care merged with Community Medical Services and renovated the facility.
In 2011, it constructed a new building and merged with the Primary Care Center of Mount Morris, a federally qualified health center-look-alike and Mount Morris Family Dentistry.
In July 2013, renovations were completed at the Primary Care Center of Mount Morris and the Teaching Health Center/Family Medicine Residency Program opened. It was a partnership between Cornerstone Care and Mon General Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va. A graduation ceremony will be held this month for the inaugural class.
“We had tremendous success at entering into these partnerships because of our shared mission to improve the health of our patients and the residents of the communities we serve, with special concern for the underserved,” MtJoy said. “That’s why our organization has continued to grow at such a rapid pace. I’m extremely proud to have provided the leadership for such a successful endeavor that has helped so many people in southwestern Pennsylvania.”
Cornerstone Care Press Release
Contact: Cindy Ekas-Brown