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Summit Health chooses VP as new CEO

By - Last modified: April 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

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Norman B. Epstein, left, and Patrick W. O'Donnell. Photos/Submitted
Norman B. Epstein, left, and Patrick W. O'Donnell. Photos/Submitted

Patrick W. O'Donnell will replace Norman B. Epstein as president and chief executive officer of Summit Health on July 1, the Chambersburg-based nonprofit announced today.

Epstein has been leading Summit for 24 years and will stay with the organization as an adviser until early 2015. A news release said that, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives, the average tenure for a hospital CEO is less than four years.

Notable 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.

O'Donnell, of Chambersburg, became controller of Chambersburg Hospital in 1985 and rose through the ranks, becoming Summit chief financial officer and chief operating officer in 2007 and currently filling the roles of COO and senior vice president.

"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, calling O'Donnell an ethical, visionary leader who cares deeply about the mission.

O'Donnell in turn said he was "so privileged to have Norm Epstein – one of the top CEOs in our industry – as my mentor for the past 24 years" and said, "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," O'Donnell said. "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 has an MBA 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.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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