Under the Hat: Changing Times - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: Changing Times

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There's that saying again, it's the "end of an era."

But certainly there is a chapter closing in the history of Hamot Medical Center when CEO John Malone steps down, a phasing-out process that will begin July 1st and end with Malone's retirement in early February.

Malone is a home grown executive, starting with Hamot in 1975 and rising in the ranks to Chief Executive.

His reign came not in an era of peace and prosperity but rather uncertainty and changing times.

To understand Malone's response to that is to understand what the hospital has been doing in his 20 year tenure.

You see, Malone was never convinced, and probably still isn't, that a town the size of Erie could support two major hospitals.

That initially helped lead to merger talks between Hamot and Saint Vincent. The two, after all, were working together to form the Regional Cancer Center and the Emergycare ambulance service, so maybe they could join forces for mutual survival.

But those talks broke down amid philosophical and logistical hurdles, and once they did, Malone made it no secret that his mission was now simple: If only one hospital was going to survive, it was going to be Hamot.

That led to what some might consider explosive growth with a free standing same day surgery center followed by a separate heart institute and than a women and children's hospital.

We don't like to think of care for our loved ones as a business, but it is, and the goal was clearly to capture market share to make Hamot not only stronger in that market but also more attractive to any potential suitors.

That dream was realized last year with a full affiliation with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the creation of UPMC-Hamot.

No one can predict the future but for twenty years John Malone has been working to make sure that Hamot survives it.

Today Hamot has affiliation cash in its pocket and a big UPMC umbrella to hide under when it rains.

In that regard, Malone can walk away with mission accomplished.

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