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Paynesville Press - Oct. 31, 2012

Paynesville Area Hospital Board
Joe Stephanie

Joe Stephanie

Joe Stephanie, 69, originally from St. Cloud, worked as a nurse anesthetist in Paynesville, as well as other area hospitals, beginning in 1971. He has served four years as the at-large representative on the hospital board. He lives in Union Grove Township with his wife Carla.

Why are you interested in serving on the board?
I have served on the board the past four years and would like to continue with the plans we now have in place. With new administration, the direction we take will be very important to me.

As PAHCS awaits the due diligence study about a possible alignment with CentraCare, what pros and cons do you see in a merger?
This study will tell us our value, physical structure, patient support, and employee strength. A full takeover of the system would end the hospital district as it is now, changing the overseeing of the operation.

What pros and cons do you see in remaining an independent health care system?
Mergers have a popular theme today. Staying independent will require a change in the way we move ahead. If we were fluid today, this discussion would not be necessary. We will not gain any additional service if we align. Patient service will not change. The problem we have is we can't afford to remain independent unless we change.

Under what scenarios would you support PAHCS using it taxing authority?
Taxing is not a popular option. To correct the needs of the system on a short time frame, taxing is one way to achieve this. If we choose to merge, taxing probably would not come into play. I ask many people in our district about taxing. I did not get one positive vote for taxing. If it meant the survival of the hospital, the answer might be different.

How important is long- term care to PAHCS's mission of "Caring for Life"?
It is important to me to preserve long-term care, whether we can stay independent or merge.

Why are you the best qualified candidate to serve on the hospital board?
I have worked in the health care industry my whole career. I feel I have a good understanding of the business. I am also very concerned about the future of this operation.

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