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Summit Health names new CEO

04/23/2013

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Summit Health’s Board of Directors announced today that Patrick W. O’Donnell of Chambersburg will replace Norman B. Epstein as President & Chief Executive Officer of Summit Health July 1.

O’Donnell is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Summit Health.

He first joined the local healthcare team in 1985 as Controller of Chambersburg Hospital and rose through the ranks until he was named Summit Health’s Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer in 2007.

“The board has seen his solid, proven leadership over the years and is confident that he will continue to build our entire health system in strong and diverse ways,” said Valorie Dick, chair of the Summit Health Board of Directors.

“He has exhibited a well-rounded approach to problem solving that will steer the Summit Health system with a sense of compassion, a broad knowledge of the ever-changing healthcare arena, and an in-depth understanding of Summit Health and our area,” she added.

Epstein will stay with the organization until early 2015, serving as an advisor.  Epstein has had a long and distinguished career with Summit Health.

He has served as President and Chief Executive Officer for 24 years – about 20 years longer than the average American hospital CEO.  According to the American College of Healthcare Executives, the average tenure for a hospital CEO is less than four years.

Some of the most notable recent accomplishments during Epstein’s tenure include the opening of the New King Street Addition at Chambersburg Hospital in December 2012, establishing Antrim Walk-In Care in 2010, adding the da Vinci robotic surgery system to Chambersburg Hospital in 2009, and Waynesboro Hospital’s designation as “America’s No. 1 Best Place to Work in Healthcare” by Modern Healthcare magazine in 2008.

Epstein also led the team during a major renovation to Chambersburg Hospital’s emergency department in 2005, establishing the area’s first interventional cardiology program in 2004, and forming Summit Health in 1995 by joining Chambersburg Hospital with Waynesboro Hospital. 

“As I reflect on my years here, I’m so proud of the work we’ve done and the people we’ve served.  It is a privilege to pass this legacy on to Pat O’Donnell.  I know he will be able to keep steering the ship in the right direction,” said Epstein.
Epstein describes O’Donnell as an ethical, visionary leader who cares deeply about the mission. 
His advice for O’Donnell:  “Lead with your heart.  Focus on the 180,000 people who depend on us for their daily healthcare needs.  Be guided by ethics, morals and truth.”

Epstein added, “As a Leader in the Catholic Healthcare System once told me, ‘Our mission is to care and help, but remember, there is no mission if there is no money.’  Summit Health is a $400 million economic engine for South Central Pa.”

O’Donnell says he is honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead Summit Health through the uncertain times ahead. 

“I am so privileged to have Norm Epstein – one of the top CEOs in our industry – as my mentor for the past 24 years. His legacy will continue for many years to come,” O’Donnell said.

Although O’Donnell will be taking the reins during an era of unprecedented transformation in the healthcare industry, he’s confident that Summit Health is positioned well to deal with the changes ahead.

“Healthcare reform presents some unique challenges that pressure us to approach our work with a perspective the industry hasn’t had before.  Instead of just treating people when they’re sick, we’ll be providing care – in the hospitals and the physician practices – from the perspective of keeping people well,” he explained. 

“That patient-centered approach has been our philosophy for decades, so we’re glad to see the healthcare industry move in a way that is in line with our organization’s goals,” O’Donnell explained.

O’Donnell has a master’s degree in Business Administration from Frostburg State University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Shippensburg University.

He currently serves on the board of directors for Chambersburg YMCA, Penn State Mont Alto Business/Information Sciences &Technology Advisory Council, insurance and patient safety organization CHART, Summit Physician Services, Cumberland Valley Health Network, Dr. Roy A. Himelfarb Surgery Center, and Cumberland Valley Mobile Services, LLC.  
O’Donnell was named “Business Person of the Year” by Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce in 2005.

“We have seen him eager to lead, yet flexible to adapt and he desires most that people within our region will receive the very best healthcare and service possible,” said Dick.

END

Press Note:

Photos of the major milestones of Epstein’s tenure as CEO are available (new King St addition to Chambersburg Hospital, Antrim Walk-In opening, da Vinci robotic surgery, Waynesboro Hospital’s #1 Best Place to Work in America, etc.)

Summit Health
Summit Health, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to building a healthier community through leading-edge medical technology, skilled physicians, caring staff, and convenient locations.  Summit Health’s comprehensive selection of services and providers includes family physicians, surgeons, specialists, diagnostic services, a women’s health center, a fitness center, two walk-in care centers, and two award-winning hospitals. For more information about Summit Health, call (717) 267-7136 or visit www.SummitHealth.org.

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