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Penn Highlands Hires COO

August 5, 2014
DuBOIS- Penn Highlands Healthcare announced today that Steven M. Fontaine has been named the system's Chief Operating Officer (COO), a new position created to guide the development of high quality, cost effective and integrated clinical programs across the system. Fontaine comes to Penn Highlands from Pioneer Health Services in Magee, Miss., where he served as the Vice President of Hospital Operations for the rural 10-hospital system.

As part of the Penn Highlands Healthcare senior leadership team, Fontaine will be responsible for developing and implementing the overall operating plans for the organization and its affiliates.

Fontaine received his Bachelor's degree from Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., and a Master's of Healthcare Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.

As the VP of Hospital Operations with Pioneer Health Services since 2007, Fontaine was responsible for the acquisition and financial turnaround of eight new hospitals and grew the revenue from $40 million to $125 million. He created a group purchasing organization that was responsible for $1.5 million in annual cost savings to the system. He also managed the systems growth through physician recruitment, property acquisition and construction of 2 new hospitals and 15 new clinics.

"Steve's experience with integrating multiple hospitals and his ability to successfully grow services throughout his system makes him the perfect candidate to help Penn Highlands Healthcare during our early years as a new and expanding system," Penn Highlands Healthcare CEO Raymond A. Graeca said. "He's a dynamic leader and someone who everyone in our system, from our healthcare providers to our hospital leaders to our frontline staff members can look to for guidance and inspiration."

Additional responsibilities that Fontaine will handle as the COO involve implementation of the system-wide strategic plan and the creation of a seamless delivery model of quality patient care across all affiliates in the system. He will be tasked by the system CEO to assist Penn Highlands reach its ultimate goal of designing the healthcare system of the future for area residents by continually increasing quality and safety while also increasing its financial sustainability.

"We need to pay constant attention to processes that increase the safety and quality of the healthcare we provide at all of our Penn Highlands facilities," Graeca said. "We believe that Steve is the person who can work along side our current team members who have been developing these performance improvement systems and help oversee the strategies that will take us to the next level in patient care."

Penn Highlands Healthcare is the region's premier healthcare provider with nearly 3,800 employees, 363 physicians and 556 inpatient beds. The system's eight-county service area includes hospitals in Brookville, Clearfield, DuBois and St. Marys. Additional affiliates include the Regional Ambulatory Surgery Center in St. Marys; Pinecrest Manor in St. Marys; Elco Glen senior residential living facility in St. Marys; Clear-Care Corporation (home medical supply company) in Clearfield; Community Nurses Incorporated (home health and hospice agency) in St. Marys; and urgent care centers in DuBois, St. Marys, Ridgway, and Emporium.

"I'm honored and eager to be a member of the Penn Highlands Healthcare leadership team," Fontaine said. "I look forward to working with the talented providers and staff members to build a healthcare system that the residents of this part of Pennsylvania deserve."

Fontaine will work from the Penn Highlands corporate offices at 204 Hospital Avenue in DuBois. He will report directly to Graeca and work with the systemís other senior leaders, as well as, the presidents of the four affiliate hospitals.

"My family and I are also excited to be relocating to such a beautiful and friendly region of the United States," he said. We hope to become active members of the community and look forward to meeting and serving the residents of this region."

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