CCMH CEO Meets with US HHS Secretary at Rural Health Roundtable

From left to right: President & CEO of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital Ed Pitchford, the President and CEO of The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania Carolyn Scanlan and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

HARRISBURG, PA – On October 12, 2011, Ed Pitchford, president and chief executive officer of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital joined five hospital leaders, the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health for a meeting with the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a rural health roundtable sponsored by HHS and hosted by The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP).

Introduced by HAP President and CEO Carolyn F. Scanlan, Secretary Sebelius engaged participants in a discussion of the most pressing issues affecting the delivery of health care in rural areas of the state; what state or federal initiatives/actions would help to address those issues; concerns related to health information technology infrastructure; and recommendations for the recruitment and retention of the health care workforce.

The rural providers in attendance identified adequate and stable funding, regulatory flexibility, and physician supply as keys to their survival.

“It was an honor to have such a personal discussion with Secretary Sebelius who I believe was truly interested in understanding today’s challenges of rural healthcare.  I was left with the impression that she understands the need to continue the various rural health programs that are currently in jeopardy as the deficit discussions in Washington, DC continue.  The Secretary is a native of Kansas which gives her the background and perspective to appreciate our concerns and points of view,” Mr. Pitchford said. “Washington is a complicated place with many moving parts.  But, it’s always comforting to know that there are people there who are committed to preserving the quality of life in rural America.”

Mr. Pitchford serves on the Board of Directors of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, its Public Payer Policy Committee and the American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board for NY, NJ and PA.  He is active with the National Rural Health Association including participation in its Rural Fellowship program.

HAP is a statewide membership services organization that advocates for nearly 250 Pennsylvania healthcare service providers, as well as the patients and communities they serve.

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital and its ten rural health care centers serve approximately 50,000 residents within a 65-mile service area including Potter, Cameron, McKean and Tioga Counties in Pennsylvania and New York’s southern tier. For more information, visit

Source: CCMH news release.

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