SAYRE, Pa. (WETM) – Guthrie President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joseph Scopelliti Tuesday announced he will begin a transition process to retire after more than a decade leading the health organization.

The Guthrie Board of Directors has established a search committee to oversee the process for selecting Guthrie’s next CEO. Dr. Scopelliti will continue in his current role until his successor is in place.

Dr. Scopelliti joined Guthrie in 1984 following his Guthrie residency and fellowship, which began in 1979. He continues to be a practicing gastroenterologist at the health system. Before ascending to the single CEO in 2012, he held many leadership roles within the organization, including Co-CEO of the health system, President and CEO of the medical group, President of the RPH Medical Staff, and Vice-President for Clinical Affairs for the medical group.

“For more than 110 years, Guthrie has been the premier independent health care provider for communities in north central Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York.  We have a long and rich history of championing integrated healthcare and clinician leadership with one of the longest established group practices in the country, beginning with Dr. Donald Guthrie’s arrival in 1910.  Since the beginning of my residency in 1979 I have witnessed the continuation of Dr. Guthrie’s mission through a period of exceptional growth, transforming us into a vibrant health system providing world-class care with a vast, multi-specialty group practice, new, state-of-the-art hospitals, teaching programs, a research institute, home care and hospice,” said Dr. Scopelliti. “As its steward, I am proud to have led this robust development, leaving a legacy of high-quality, patient-centered care with a sound financial foundation positioning the organization well for the future.”

“We are extremely grateful for Dr. Scopelliti’s excellent leadership,” said Ken Levitzky, Chair of Guthrie’s Board of Directors. “Under his direction, Guthrie made significant strides in its ongoing mission to deliver superior patient care. Through his example, we have strengthened our system’s culture of trust and collaboration, with the patient at the center of every decision.”

During Dr. Scopelliti’s tenure as President and CEO, Guthrie has also experienced increased recognition across the region for the delivery of high-quality patient care. In 2009, Guthrie was highlighted by Atul Gawande, Donald Berwick, Elliott Fisher and Mark McClellan in a New York Times Op-Ed article entitled “10 Steps to Better Health Care” as a model of success, citing low Medicare costs per capita and above average federal quality measures. Moreover, the system has been recognized for exceptional clinical quality with seven top 100 hospital awards, five top 100 performance improvement leader recognitions, two top 50 health care system awards based on low cost and high quality care, and two Everest Awards from Thomson Reuters for demonstrating exceptional performance improvement. Additionally, Guthrie’s Robert Packer Hospital has been named to the IBM Watson Top 50 for Cardiovascular Care list 11 times, most recently in 2019.

Dr. Scopelliti oversaw the openings of two new hospitals, Troy Community Hospital and Corning Hospital, the technologically advanced intensive care and heart and vascular units at Robert Packer Hospital, as well as numerous new medical office buildings throughout the region. He led system affiliations with Towanda Memorial Hospital in Towanda, PA and Cortland Regional Medical Center in Cortland, NY, expanding services and improving care for those communities. Dr. Scopelliti was also instrumental in establishing the partnerships with the Mayo Clinic Care Network and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

Throughout his time at Guthrie, Dr. Scopelliti spurred innovations across the health system, earning national acclaim. Under his direction, Guthrie has achieved Epic Gold Stars Level 10 in recognition for its exceptional use of the electronic health record in delivering high quality patient care, placing Guthrie in the top one percent of organizations worldwide using the Epic tool. Guthrie has also achieved Most Wired Recognition multiple times, most recently in 2020, from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) for its exemplary performance in applying technologies to improve health care in the communities it serves.

Dr. Scopelliti’s guidance was key to the establishment of the system’s modern governance structure bringing together physician leaders, local business leaders, and national health care experts to help guide the organization. 

“My true legacy lives every day in the wonderful work of our colleagues; the Guthrie clinicians and staff who selflessly care for our patients and their families,” added Dr. Scopelliti. “Their strength, perseverance and continuing hard work to meet the health care needs of the communities we serve is humbling. Leading this organization has been both my greatest challenge and most rewarding accomplishment. I will forever be grateful to my mentors and those individuals who have supported the organization with their time and charitable giving, and for the support demonstrated throughout my tenure by every individual on the Guthrie team.”

The Board of Directors will manage the search for Dr. Scopelliti’s successor through the establishment of a search committee chaired by Johanna Ames. The committee has retained WittKieffer, a renowned leader in health care executive search, to lead its recruitment efforts.  The committee is aiming to complete the transition in the second half of CY2021 and Dr. Scopelliti has committed to a smooth, well-planned hand-off to his successor.

“Working with our partners, we will commence a thorough, objective search for Dr. Scopelliti’s successor immediately, considering both internal and external candidates,” said Ms. Ames. “We look forward to welcoming a new CEO who will continue our history of exceptional leadership and patient-centered care.”