WESTFIELD - Patty Ballman, appointed administrator of Westfield Memorial Hospital as of Jan. 1, was welcomed by WMH Foundation board members at the February meeting.
A 33-year veteran from Saint Vincent Health System, the parent hospital of WMH, Ballman has experience in all aspects of operating a hospital. As 16-year Director of Operations for SVHS's Medical Group, she was responsible for the development and implementation of physician practice management strategies and evidence-based delivery care models to increase efficiency, promote positive clinical outcomes and accelerate financial performance.
A graduate of the Saint Vincent School of Nursing, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in health care management.
Westfield Memorial Hospital Administrator Patty Ballman, right, and her assistant Vickie Forsythe, left, discuss some hospital business. Ballman was welcomed by the Westfield Memorial Hospital Foundation Board of Directors at the February meeting and will be a regular contributor at all future monthly meetings.
"I stepped into Saint Vincent right out of nursing school," she said, adding she then spent four years in nursing before stepping into management
Ballman's philosophy illustrates her forward thinking about her new position with WMH.
"Our responsibility here doesn't stop when the patient leaves," she said, indicating her determination to be sure the hospital survives. "We want to bring down costs, too."
Her enthusiasm about her position includes all who are connected to WMH and the foundation.
"We need to work to coordinate care with good transitions," Ballman said. "If we lose track of why we're here, we're not going to achieve any of these goals."
Born and raised in Erie, Pa., Ballman also has a home life. Married to Michael in 1980, they have two children, Jennifer, 23, who has finished her six years to become a pharmacist, and Patrick, 20, a University of Pittsburgh biochemistry major.
Of her first visit to the foundation, which carries a non-voting seat on the board of directors for the hospital executive, she noted "a deep, deep commitment from the communities to support the hospital. The foundation board should be applauded for their work and efforts and thinking years ahead to provide the best care."
Vickie Forsythe will occupy the chair just outside Ballman's office serving as administrative assistant, who, after nearly two months at WMH, describes her position as "Patty's support in getting things done."
Forsythe, who has a business administration and management degree, has more than 15 years experience in this field and has served as administrative assistant to the SVHS Finance Vice President for 11 years. Before that, she was administrative secretary for Mercyhurst University, formerly Mercyhurst North East, nursing program.
She and husband, Roger, have two sons, Kirk, who is a Pennsylvania state policeman, and Allen, who currently is in the U.S. Air Force stationed in Italy.
"I like it here," Forsythe said of her new position in Westfield. "Westfield Memorial Hospital associates love what they're doing. Really, team work always works best."
And, should anyone like to contact Ballman, Forsythe said, "If you call and Patty isn't here, I answer both our phones."
As for Ballman, it is evident she likes her new position.
"I'm very excited and very, very pleased at the dedication and commitment of the community," she said. "Westfield's hospital is a crucial part of the community we serve and continue to provide innovative health care to our service area."