UPMC slashes board by 29 members

| Friday, July 15, 2011

UPMC has reduced its 51-member board of directors by more than half, a move officials say will allow it to better handle the needs of the region's largest hospital system.

The removal of 29 people was made on the recommendation of consultants who said a smaller board could be more effective, spokesman Paul Wood said. UPMC plans to create a new "board of visitors" with community and business leaders who would be used to provide input on the nonprofit's direction.

"This is something we've been looking at for well over a year," Wood said. "This is the next step in our evolution."

UPMC's board had expanded over the years as it acquired hospitals such as Mercy and Children's hospitals. The mergers required some leaders from those hospitals to have seats on UPMC's board, but the terms of those agreements have expired or been met.

Because UPMC acquired the former Hamot Medical Center in Erie earlier this year, the chairman of that board, B. Scott Kern, is one of two people recently added to UPMC's board.

Kern is vice president and general counsel at C.A. Curtze Co., a food service distributor in Erie, and the other new board member is Alan Guttman, CEO of The Guttman Group, an oil and liquid fuel transportation and storage company. They raise the total number of UMPC board members to 24.

By comparison, the board of West Penn Allegheny Health System has 19 members.

Several UPMC board directors whose spots were eliminated told the Tribune-Review that they left willingly and were not upset by the changes.

"My mission is accomplished," said Jack McGinley, a Downtown attorney who will no longer be on the board. He became a director in 2007 upon UPMC's merger with Mercy Hospital. "This is healthy step for the board."

McGinley, who had been on Mercy's board for about 15 years before it merged with UPMC, will serve as co-chair of the visitors board, along with George L. W. Werner of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. McGinley said a final roster for the visitors board has not been finalized.

William Pietragallo II joined the UPMC board when it merged with Magee Womens Hospital in 1999, and said he recently told board members there that he believed they would continue to protect women's care and neonatal care after his departure. He remains chairman of Magee and said he has been asked to chair the board of the UPMC Health Plan.

"Several months ago we all felt the board ought to be contracted and in doing that, we knew that various constituencies would not be able to be represented on the board," Pietragallo said.

Although smaller, the board maintains its core structure with a third of its members each representing the hospitals, the University of Pittsburgh and the community, Wood said.

In addition to McGinley and Pietragallo, others removed from UPMC's board were: Robert O. Agbede, Richard F. Berdik, Dr. Timothy R. Billiar, James L. Daugherty, Ronald R. Davenport Sr., Vincent C. DeLuzio, Douglas P. Dick, William S. Dietrich II, James C. Diggs, John S. Dolan, David B. Fawcett, Audrey Hillman Fisher, Ira J. Gumberg, Stephen Halpern, Jason M. Harrison, D. James Heatherington, Margaret Mary Kimmel, Dr. James E. Knarr, Anne Lewis, Eric K. Mann, Wilma McNeese, Jack Shea, William E. Troup, Thomas J. Usher, Dr. Joel H. Weinberg, George L.W. Werner and Sam S. Zacharias.

Nick Beckwith will remain as UPMC board chairman. Beckwith is chairman and chief executive officer of Arch Street Management in Monroeville.

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