OLEAN — Jeff Zewe, who rose from registered nurse to hospital executive, is the next president and CEO of Upper Allegheny Health System and its hospitals in Olean and Bradford, Pa.
Zewe is currently the senior vice president and chief operating officer of UAHS, Olean General Hospital and Bradford Regional Medical Center, a position he’s held since 2015. His appointment, filling the role of retiring Tim Finan, takes effect March 15.
“We are delighted to have Jeff Zewe as our new president and CEO,” said Jeff Belt, chairman of the Upper Allegheny Health System Board of Directors. “Clearly Jeff is a proven healthcare executive and has the experience, leadership ability and the know-how to take the organization into the future.”
Belt said Zewe’s roots as a registered nurse, which fostered “his passion for patient care,” as well as his knowledge of the Upper Allegheny system and “track record of accomplishments at OGH and BRMC make Jeff an excellent choice to lead our organization.”
Zewe will report to the UAHS board and, consistent with operational reporting relationships of presidents at Kaleida Health hospitals, he will also report to Donald Boyd, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Kaleida.
Having earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing as well as an MBA, he has served in hospital leadership roles for 20 years.
Zewe said he is “honored and humbled” by his appointment and greatly appreciates the confidence of the board of directors.
“I am privileged to work with a great team and I look forward to meeting the challenges of this difficult health care environment together with our board, administrative team, managers, staff, physicians and our Kaleida Health partners,” he said.
Finan, who announced his intention to retire in January, has served as president and CEO of Olean General Hospital since 2006 and as president and CEO of UAHS since the system formed in 2009.
“As we said when Tim announced his retirement plans, we thank him for everything he has done to lead an organization of stellar quality and performance and wish him well as he steps into retirement,” Belt said.
When he made his retirement announcement, Finan had indicated that it would take effect in July. However, UAHS officials indicated Monday, confidence in Zewe’s ability to take over the reins meant there was no reason for Finan to wait through a longer transition.
In January, Finan said he’s looking forward to his retirement on the beach in South Carolina, enjoying the sun and fishing after 42 years in the healthcare field.
Zewe takes over as rural healthcare institutions face an ever-tighter squeeze for revenues while trying to maintain viability. While hospitals serving rural areas in the United States are closing at an increasing rate, UAHS has kept OHS and BRMC open, albeit with consolidations and layoffs over the last decade — as well as facing deficits.
Teaming with Kaleida and offering specialist services through partnerships has been an important factor in maintaining the hospitals to this point.
Zewe’s appointment also comes amid consternation over the coronavirus outbreak.
A native of Pittsburgh, Zewe has more than 30 years of experience in multiple health systems. Before being named senior VP and COO of UAHS, he served as vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer with UAHS from 2011-15.
He served as president of Excela Health-Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant, Pa., from 2008-10; vice president of patient care services at Excela Health-Latrobe and Frick Hospitals from 2006-08; and nursing director, Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, from 2000-06.
His MBA is from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, and his bachelor’s degree is from Duquesne University.
He lives in Olean with his wife, Nicole Marker-Zewe, a nurse practitioner, and their children, Brandon and Ashley.