Fontaine To Take The Helm At Penn Highlands Healthcare

April 05, 2016

Steven M. Fontaine, incoming CEO, Penn Highlands Healthcare

Robert W. O’Leary, chairman of the Penn Highlands Healthcare Board of Directors, announced today that Steven M. Fontaine will be named the system's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), following the retirement of Raymond A. Graeca on June 30, 2016.

Fontaine, hired as the system’s chief operating officer in 2014, was tabbed as the successor to Graeca in July of last year and began taking on a larger role in the organization in anticipation of the move to the top spot in the organization.

Graeca announced his retirement, effective June 30, following a 43-year career in Health Services and Hospital Administration, with the majority of that career at the helm of DuBois Regional Medical Center (DRMC) and Penn Highlands Healthcare. 

“The board of directors is confident that Steve will continue with the mission that he was hired to do - guide the development of high quality, cost effective and integrated clinical programs across the system,” O’Leary said. “Steve has proven his ability to be a system thinker and has met every challenge that the board has put before him.”

As part of the Penn Highlands Healthcare senior leadership team, Fontaine has been responsible for developing and implementing the overall operating plans for the organization and its affiliates. Fontaine developed a comprehensive, system-wide strategic plan as well as a system-wide analytical approach to day to day operations. 

Graeca, a native of Erie, graduated with a degree in Accounting from Gannon University.   After completing a tour of duty in the US Army, he earned a master’s degree in Health Service Administration from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1973.  He worked in hospitals in Alabama, Louisiana and Texas before returning to Pennsylvania in 1979 to become president of Corry Memorial Hospital in Corry.

Graeca came to DuBois in 1990 as the president of DuBois Regional Medical Center. Under Graeca’s leadership, the hospital thrived for many years, growing regional services that helped sustain a long list of healthcare programs that are normally only found in large city hospitals. 

Graeca is credited with being part of a group who started The Free Medical Clinic of DuBois in 1998.  He has served on many other local boards, including the St. Catherine Parish Council, DuBois Area Catholic School Board and DuBois Area Economic Development Council. He has also been a leader on several statewide boards, including the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania, the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania chapter of the VHA (formerly Voluntary Hospitals of America).   He is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives and a Life Member of the American Hospital Association.   In 1998, he was named as the Distinguished Citizen of the Year in DuBois.  He also currently serves on several Advisory Boards including Lock Haven University-Clearfield Campus and the DuBois Business College.  

In 2007, Graeca helped negotiate a linkage between DRMC and Brookville Hospital that eventually allowed the Brookville facility to become a subsidiary of DRMC. In 2011, Penn Highlands Healthcare was created when Clearfield Hospital joined the group and Graeca was named the CEO of the new system. Elk Regional Health Center joined Penn Highlands in 2013.

“I’m very pleased that Ray and the board of directors have allowed me to carry on their vision for the Penn Highlands Healthcare system,” Fontaine said. “My family and I have come to call this part of Pennsylvania home and we’re glad that we have an area as nice as this to raise our children. Professionally, I couldn’t ask for more than to be part of the Penn Highlands team and continue building a regional health care system that sustains and expands the long tradition that all of our hospitals have created in their communities.”

Fontaine came to Penn Highlands from Pioneer Health Services in Magee, Mississippi, where he served as the Vice President of Hospital Operations for the rural 10-hospital system. 

Fontaine received his bachelor's degree from Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, and a master's of Healthcare Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.

Penn Highlands Healthcare is the region's premier healthcare provider with more than 3,600 employees, 360 physicians and 525 inpatient beds. The system's eight-county service area includes hospitals in Brookville, Clearfield, DuBois and St. Marys. Additional affiliates include ambulatory surgery centers in St. Marys and DuBois; Pinecrest Manor in St. Marys; Elco Glen senior residential living facility in St. Marys; Community Nurses Incorporated (home health and hospice agency) in St. Marys; and urgent care centers in DuBois, St. Marys, Ridgway, Philipsburg, Punxsutawney and Emporium.

The Penn Highlands corporate offices are located at 204 Hospital Avenue in DuBois.