October 7, 2015
“Mel has been a passionate advocate for rural health care and we are grateful for his leadership and dedication to Copley,” said Nancy Putnam, Chair of Copley Health Systems’ Board of Trustees. “Beginning in 2007, he helped Copley move through a period of transition and consolidation, emphasizing Quality Management and collaboration. Under his leadership, Copley has been honored as a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital, a HealthStrong Hospital and one of the Top 50 hospitals in New England based on patient satisfaction. Copley will not be the same without him. He has made Copley better, which is a wonderful gift he has given our community.”
Patashnick, 72, joined Copley Hospital as CEO in 2007. Under Patashnick’s guidance, Copley Hospital remained focused on providing needed medical services for the greater Lamoille County area. During his tenure, key clinical personnel chose Copley for their practice, including cardiologist Dr. Adam Kunin, urologist Dr. Betsy Perez, general surgeon Dr. Donald Dupuis, anesthesiologist Dr. Chris Rohan, and orthopaedic specialists Drs. Brian Aros, John Macy, Joseph McLaughlin, and Saul Trevino. In 2009, Copley established a hospitalist program, currently staffed by Drs. Jennifer Peters and Patrick Keith that has been well received by area primary care physicians, as it enables them to spend more time caring for patients in their offices. In 2012, the hospital took over ownership of The Women’s Center, keeping women’s services available locally by securing two OB/GYN specialists, Dr. Will Ellis and Dr. Anne Stohrer, and a third certified nurse midwife, Alexandra “Kipp” Bovey.
With tremendous community support, Patashnick was instrumental in bringing about numerous upgrades to the facility, including the Robert S. Barrows Emergency Department, renovations to the Birthing Center, Outpatient Services Center, patient rooms, and the nursing station on Med/Surg and SCU units, while also securing adjacent land for future use. He looks forward to participating in the construction of Copley’s new Surgical Suite.
“I started my tenure with candid conversations about patient care, the pressures of health care reform, and the fiscal health of the hospital,” said Patashnick. “We have worked hard to provide certainty and stability for staff while maintaining our commitment to our patients, community, and the future of Copley Hospital.”
Patashnick and his wife plan to move closer to family in order to spend more time with their grandchildren. Patashnick also shared his goals for some personal passions, “I want to pursue my piano studies and become a somewhat more adequate golfer,” he said.
Before joining Copley, Patashnick had served as CEO at Sierra Kings District Hospital, a rural hospital in Reedley California and as CEO of a rural hospital on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. Before discovering his passion for rural healthcare, he worked for fourteen years at an academic medical center, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey. He started as an Administrative Director, becoming Vice President of Clinical Services, and finally serving as Executive Director of the Children’s Hospital.
Patashnick holds three graduate degrees: a Master of Arts in Health Care Administration from the University of Iowa; a Master of Social Work from Hunter College in New York City; and a Master of Science in Management System Analysis from Keane College in New Jersey. He earned his Bachelor of Science at Columbia University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and, representing Critical Access Hospitals, on the board for OneCare Vermont, an Accountable Care Organization.
According to Putnam, Copley’s Board of Trustees will meet to work out the next steps to ensure a smooth transition in leadership.