Hospital CEO reflects on year with auxiliary

Members of the Auxiliary to J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, Huntingdon, came together for their 102nd annual business meeting Sept. 14 to review the work of the past year and look forward to future tasks.
Over the last business year, the hospital has welcomed a new president and CEO, Jason Hawkins, and a new chief operating officer, Adam Dimm.
Auxiliary president Miranda Peruso welcomed Hawkins, who offered some announcements and updates. “We have to keep an eye on what is going on around us,” Hawkins said. “There are more changes going on now in health care than ever.”
J . C . Blair Memorial Hospital entered into a partnership with Pinnacle- Health, Harrisburg, over a year ago which has expanded opportunities for collaboration between health care providers.
“Since then, PinnacleHealth, Hershey Medical Center and Penn State University have started to form relationships. Out of that, they are looking at forming an organization called Penn State Health, which will probably have an insurance product that will be offered out in the community and will be affordable,” he said. “We want to make sure we are taking care of things in Huntingdon County, but we want to make sure we are participating in what is happening in the region between here and State College, Harrisburg and Hershey.”
These provider relationships will serve to augment patient care. “Our community is counting on us to make sure we are sending them to where the best care is,” Hawkins said. “When we collaborate, we work better together, but when we compete, communities suffer.”
As part of the hospital’s commitment to constantly improving the health of the surrounding community, a new Convenient Care Center was opened in May and a new radiology suite, 611 MRI in State College, in June. A “swing bed” post-acute care program was added in July to address the needs of patients recovering from illness or surgery, but may not yet be ready to return home.
Hawkins also touched upon some future projects that J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital has on the horizon, including a proposed expansion to the emergency department and expanding medical care offerings into other areas of the county. The entire health system will also convert its medical records into a new, more extensive coding system.
Peruso thanked Hawkins for his participation and opened up the meeting’s program, “Learn. Take action. Make a difference,” in which committee chairs were invited to share information about the various responsibilities and the help needed to accomplish them.
“We wanted to be sure to give people the opportunity to know a bit more about each individual committee,” she said. Members and guests heard from those charged with the annual benefit event, publicity, the Children’s Health Fair, hospitality events, legislative advocacy, hospital projects, scholarships, membership, lobby sales and hospital volunteers.
Officers for 2015-2016 were introduced, president Peruso, president-elect Allison Ghaner, vice president Marsha Hartman, treasurer Kathy Armillei and secretary Sharon Bookhamer. The annual report was then reviewed and approved as submitted.
For more information on membership with the Auxiliary to J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, call Holli Smith at 643-8833.
April can be reached at