Our Leadership

Matthew Heywood
President & CEO, Aspirus Health 



Matt Heywood joined the Wausau, Wisconsin based health system in 2013. Since that time, his leadership has helped Aspirus grow to 17 hospitals and 75 clinics throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula in Michigan around a vision to create healthy, thriving communities. Under Matt’s guidance, Aspirus has earned numerous quality and industry recognitions from agencies like IBM Watson Health, HealthGrades, Thomson Reuters, the American Heart Association, and more. Matt also brought seven former Ascension hospitals into the Aspirus system in 2021, expanding care and the Aspirus model to more patients and communities.
With more than 30 years of success in business and health care leadership, Matt has decades of experience in not-for-profit and for-profit hospital and health system management and operations. A proud graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business, Matt navigated the world of business consulting before entering health system leadership. This has given him a solid foundation for business operations and successful organizational leadership. Aspirus continues to expand access to care for patients and communities across Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota to tackle the challenges and constant changes of health care.


Recent Media


Leader Q&A

How can a health system be poised for success in a rapidly changing health care environment? 

The delivery of care that worked for hospitals and health systems five, 10 or 15 years ago is transforming as competition, technology and reimbursement pressures build. From challenges with health insurers to higher costs, obstacles to nurse and physician recruitment, and an aging population, the future of health care continues to evolve rapidly.

Often, health systems are slow to react. But at Aspirus, our team is setting the standard with a thoughtful vision. We’ve gone to great lengths to stress the importance of strategic planning and seizing opportunities when they arise, from mergers and acquisitions to the innovative services we provide for patients. Surviving in today’s health care environment requires a proactive approach to care and operations, and a defined vision of what the health system should be for the communities that depend on it. 

We cannot simply react to unpredictable changes in health care. The industry is dealing with an existential crisis, and health systems need to be ready because in times of chaos, there can be opportunity. 

What are the obstacles to providing rural health care? What is unique about the care Aspirus provides?

Ask anyone in the health care industry, and they’ll say rural health care is complex and the obstacles are numerous. Challenges such as travel and transportation, infrastructure and internet limitations, impact how providers treat patients. What often works in suburban or urban communities won’t work in rural areas. It is also hard to staff these regions with top physicians, nurses and technicians. Hundreds of rural hospitals and services have closed or relocated since the early 2000s, and hundreds more are at risk of closing each year. 

Rural health care requires a unique approach. At Aspirus, many of the communities we serve are located in rural parts of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Bringing high-quality care to these communities is what I think makes Aspirus, our staff and our patients special. 

At Aspirus, we believe care should remain as local as possible. Our commitment to rural health care ensures that patients aren’t traveling hours and hours for vital services. This model of care is one that few health systems are willing to embrace because of its complexities. It takes commitment from the management team, physicians and staff to keep quality care at the local and regional level. We want to maintain and expand key services in our communities to ensure that patients are treated by the best care team available. It’s also why we leverage 340B, critical access and rural health clinic designations. These designations ensure that we get the maximum value for patients and that each care site can address the unique needs of our communities. 

What is your vision for Aspirus?

Our vision at Aspirus is to be a catalyst for creating healthy, thriving communities and to be trusted and engaged above all others. Aspirus will be a place where patients can maintain their health and receive health care services no matter where they live. We believe that working with like-minded partners will help us build scale and continue to care for patients locally for generations to come. 


Volunteer Work

  • Board Member, Wisconsin Hospital Association
  • Board Member, YMCA Foundation
  • Board Member, Northcentral Technical College Foundation
  • Board Member, Greater Wausau Prosperity Partnership


  • Most Influential Business Leaders 2022, Wisconsin 275
  • Wisconsin 275 Honorary Degree – Doctor of Medical Science, The Medical College of Wisconsin, May 2021


  • MBA, General Management, University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business – Ann Arbor, MI
  • BA, Government, Dartmouth College – Hanover, NH