2019-01-19 / Front Page

New head at UPMC Cole


Janie Hilfiger is now serving as president of UPMC Cole in Coudersport, while continuing in the same capacity at the UPMC hospital in Wellsboro. She succeeds Ed Pitchford, who is helping with the transition before his retirement takes effect at the end of March. Janie Hilfiger is now serving as president of UPMC Cole in Coudersport, while continuing in the same capacity at the UPMC hospital in Wellsboro. She succeeds Ed Pitchford, who is helping with the transition before his retirement takes effect at the end of March. Months of speculation about the impending departure of UPMC Cole president and chief executive officer Ed Pitchford were put to rest last week with an announcement from the health care giant’s corporate headquarters.

Pitchford will retire at the end of March and has been succeeded by Janie Hilfiger. He is staying on for the final two months to assist with the transition.

Hilfiger, who serves as president of UPMC Susquehanna (Soldiers & Sailors Hospital) in Wellsboro, has taken on the same role at Cole. She brings more than 40 years of health care expertise in strategic planning, clinical operations, nursing, and patient care.

“The continuity of a regionalized presidential role will align goals for both hospitals to work in partnership,” said the news release. “A shared vision will translate into care with greater coordination, stronger outcomes, and improved patient experiences.”

Pitchford first started working with Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in 1979 as a consultant. In 1987, he joined the hospital staff as chief financial officer and served for five years. He returned in 2006 and was named president and chief executive officer, succeeding David Acker, who relocated to Potsdam, N.Y.

UPMC Cole is nearing its first anniversary as part of the sprawling University of Pittsburgh Medical Center conglomerate. The merger was part of a national consolidation trend in the industry driven by economics, growing power by insurance companies, and government policies. Unless a small provider has strong financial support, the choices have been narrowed to two -- shut down or merge.

UPMC agreed to support Cole’s outstanding debts and invest at least $27.5 million over seven years. UPMC Cole continues to be supported by its local board of directors and is now partnered with UPMC Susquehanna, based in Lycoming County.

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