New Woman In Charge

Patty Ballman, appointed administrator of Westfield Memorial Hospital as of Jan. 1, was welcomed by WMH Foundation board members at their February meeting.

A 33-year veteran from Saint Vincent Health System, parent hospital of WMH, Ballman – Patty, as she prefers to be called – 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. “I stepped into Saint Vincent right out of nursing school,” she said, adding that she then spent four years in nursing before stepping into management

Patty’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. If we lose track of why we’re here, we’re not going to achieve any of these goals.”

Born and raised in Erie, Patty 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 nonvoting 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 Patty’s office serving as administrative assistant, who, after nearly two months at WMH, describes her position as “Patty’s support in getting things done.”

Vickie, who has a business administration/management degree, has more than 15 years experience in this field and has served as administrative assistant to the SVHS finance VP 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.

Of her new position in Westfield, Vickie said, “I like it here. Westfield Memorial Hospital associates love what they’re doing. Really, team work always works best.”

And, should anyone like to contact Patty, Vickie said, “If you call and Patty isn’t here, I answer both our phones.”

As for Patty, it is evident that she likes her new position. “I’m very excited and very, very pleased at the dedication and commitment of the community. Westfield’s hospital is a crucial part of the community we serve and continue to provide innovative health care to our service area.”