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WellSpan York Hospital expands Level 3 NICU John A. Pavoncello, 717-505-5449/@Jpavoncello

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Roxanna L. Gapstur will soon make her mark at central Pennsylvania's largest and only locally governed health system as its next president and CEO.

Following a national search, the WellSpan Health board of directors announced her appointment in the top executive role effective Jan. 2, succeeding Kevin H. Mosser, who will retire Jan. 1.

“The biggest component was the culture,” Gapstur said on what drew her to the organization.

The Minnesota native cited the trust and respect between leaders, how they treat others and their hard-working, mission-driven values, focused on serving the community.

"I am very excited to lead such a fine organization, as WellSpan continues its journey of transformation in a rapidly changing health care environment," she said in a news release.

More: WellSpan York Hospital receives national recognition for treatment of heart and lung failure

More: WellSpan York Hospital finishes $1.6M neonatal unit expansion

Wealth of experiences: Gapstur has a wealth of experiences under her belt, stated WellSpan board chairman Steven M. Hovis.

With a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College of St. Catherine, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a master's and doctorate in nursing from the University of Minnesota, she brings a clinical expertise to the leadership team.

“I’ve always found that to be an advantage,” Gapstur said.

It helps her understand how health care is provided, she said, taking into consideration quality, safety and all that goes into the health care journey.

She is president of Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis and senior vice president of HealthPartners, a $7.2 billion Minnesota-based organization that includes eight hospitals, 1,800 physicians and more than 100 care locations, according to the release.

Under her leadership, Methodist became an award winner for health and safety, the release states.

HealthPartners differs from WellSpan in that it's both a health care provider and insurer, having both sides of health care under one umbrella — whereas WellSpan focuses solely on the health care side.

The model is similar to UPMC Health and Geinsinger, in Montour County, said Brett Marcy, WellSpan's senior director of public relations.

It's also located in one metropolitan area, while WellSpan is spread throughout York’s more rural municipalities and into other counties, Gapstur said.

Continuing strong partnerships: But the two share key similarities in growth and new partnerships.

The Minnesota organization’s health care plan grew significantly within the past five years, she said, expanding beyond Minnesota to Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.

And as a health care provider, HealthPartners integrated with a few other health care organizations in the last six to seven years, similar to WellSpan’s merger with Summit Health last year — an affiliation agreement which is awaiting final regulatory approval this fall.

More: WellSpan moves forward with Summit Health merger

Gapstur said that process definitely prepared her for continuing a successful integration at WellSpan.

Community focus: She pointed to the organization’s strong focus on working together as one, both with its partners and with the community at large.

“Communities and health care systems need to work together,” she said.

She's also a member of the board of directors of her local United Way and has been an active leader in several community health organizations, including the Metropolitan Healthcare Partnership.

Given a growing awareness of mental health issues nationally, she said, “I think mental health is one of those areas where it takes a village,” and she looks forward to building on WellSpan’s strong investment in its Philhaven network for mental and behavioral health.

More: Behavioral health now open at WellSpan emergency department

Looking to the future, Gapstur hopes to be prepared for changes in the market, including new ways for patients to access care and incorporation of technology and digital spaces.

Considerations of consumer loyalty and experiences as well as having an understanding of the unique needs and desires of those they are serving are important, she added.

Gapstur plans to move to York County in December with her husband, Kevin, and miniature pinscher, Jack, making a few visits between now and then to get to know the area and its people. The couple also has four adult daughters.

Her arrival will be in conjunction with the openings of two new walk-in urgent care centers — the first to open in the Hanover area in December and the second in West Manchester Township in late January.

“I’m really excited to be part of WellSpan and to be coming to the York community,” she said.

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