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Who We Are

A Note from Merlin Hart, CEO
of Pinnacle Healthcare Management, Inc.

Caring for the elderly is a long-standing commitment—a way of life—that runs deeply in the two families that own Pinnacle. Four generations of the owners’ families, including my two children, have worked in long-term care. It’s the only business we’re in, and we’re dedicated to providing the best possible post-hospital and rehabilitative care we can.

I was raised in a medical family in a small town. My father was a primary care physician who served everyone in town, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cornerstone of my beliefs about caring for people was forged during those years as I watched my father treat everyone in the community with respect and dignity, regardless of their social standing or income. It’s a belief that guides how our professional staff conduct themselves everyday at Pinnacle facilities.

Photo_2Merlin Hart
Owner and CEO
Merlin Hart grew up going with his physician father to visit patients at the local nursing home.

After graduating from Washington’s Walla Walla College in 1974 with a bachelor of arts in history and studies in pre-med, Merlin and his wife, Claire Fisher Hart, a registered nurse, began working in her family’s long-term care business at the Grants Pass facility. Merlin and Claire then took over the management of Corvallis Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, purchasing the business from Claire’s parents in 1980.

Merlin is an active supporter of long-term care in Oregon and has been involved with many influential organizations, including the Oregon Health Care Foundation, where he has been a board member since 1999; Oregon Health Care Association, where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000; the American Health Care Association; American College of Health Care Administrators; and the Governor's Commission on Senior Services. 

Merlin and Claire have been married for more than 30 years. Their son, Brian, holds a nursing home administrator's license and is the Director of Risk Management, where he also supervises the Chaplain Services program.  Becky, Merlin and Claire's daughter, also has an administrator's license and is the Director of Community Relations. 

Mark Garber
Owner and CFO
In 1983, after attending the University of Oregon in Eugene, Mark Garber and his youngest brother got involved in long-term care when they took over the family business, South Hills Rehabilitation Center, when their father retired. Before becoming Pinnacle’s CFO in 1994, Mark was the CFO for Garber Enterprises for 12 years.

Mark is a current member of the executive board of Oregon Health Care Association and has also held the positions of vice president and chair of the National Legislative Committee for the same organization. He is also on the executive board of the Lewis & Clark Risk Retention Group.

Mark was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. He and his wife, Carey, have two children, Stephanie and Ben. Stephanie works in Accounts Payable at Pinnacle's home office and Ben holds a Nursing Home Administrator's license in the state of Oregon. Ben is the Administrator at Royal Gardens Health and Rehabilitation Center.


Julie Carlson
President 
Julie is the first non-family member to lead Pinnacle Healthcare. Prior to being named President, she was Pinnacle's Director of Business Development. Julie has enjoyed a successful career in the field of long-term care for more than 25 years. She earned a bachelor's degree in health care administration and a master's degree in business administration at Oregon State University. She is a licensed nursing home administrator in Oregon. 

Julie began her career in 1982, and since that time has worked in a variety of administrative positions in long-term care. Much of her career has been spent with Prestige Care, Inc., where she held positions as regional director, program manager, director of support services and vice president of operations. Julie joined Pinnacle Healthcare in 2006, and  is excited about Pinnacle's future and its mission. Julie believes in nurturing a culture that supports caregivers and enhances the quality of life and services offered clients.

Photo_2Steve Wallace
Senior Vice President of Operations
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in psychology from George Fox University 23 years ago, Steve Wallace began working in juvenile corrections with the state of Oregon, later moving into community-based corrections. He entered healthcare management in 1986, completing an administrator-in-training program at Corvallis Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, where he was hired as assistant administrator. Steve was promoted to the administrator’s position which he held until accepting the role of Pinnacle Healthcare’s chief operating officer in 2000.

Steve’s career has seen a number of successes built on three simple principles: constantly striving to improve the quality of care and services; promoting and growing a staff through education, training and support; and remembering healthcare is always about “team” – no one person succeeds on his or her own. It takes residents, family, staff, leadership and community working together to truly assure a superior community healthcare delivery system. This is Steve’s commitment.

Rick Masterson, CPA
Senior Vice President of Finance and Information Technology 
When Rick joined Pinnacle in 1999, he brought more than 10 years of experience as a certified public accountant, both as a controller for a nursing facility in Corvallis and as an accountant at a Beaverton firm that specializes in long-term care. Rick feels that one of his most important duties is to help Pinnacle’s managers by providing them with the information they need to effectively manage. He says he really enjoys creating processes to deliver those key pieces of information on a timely basis.

Rick currently lives in Eugene with his wife, Denise, and their two children, Cody and Hallie. He attended college just down the road, earning a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon. When he’s not working, you might find Rick on a bike; he’s completed the Seattle-to-Portland biking event every year since 2007.

Photo_2Sharon Faulk, RN
Vice President of Clinical Services
Her original plan was to be a school teacher, but when Sharon Faulk took time away from college to care for her ill grandmother, she found another calling. Upon her return to classes, she began working at a local nursing home and realized how much she loved working with seniors. Sharon changed her major and graduated with a registered nursing degree from Good Samaritan School of Nursing in Portland.

More than 30 of her 33 years in nursing have been spent in long-term care. Sharon was a director of nursing services for 15 years, had a private consulting business for six, and came to Pinnacle from Prestige Care where she served as the director of quality assurance for 11 years.

Traveling with her husband Jim in their motor home, fishing and reading are just a few of the things Sharon enjoys outside of work time. She and Jim have two sons and she also has six step-children, so family time is important.

Rick StraitRick Strait

Vice President of Reimbursement Services

Rick Strait has been working in skilled nursing facility field since 1990. He received his bachelor’s degree in management from California Coast University in Santa Ana. Rick also served proudly in the United States Air Force and was stationed in Europe during the end of the Cold War.

 

Rick began working with Pinnacle in 2004. Before taking on his current role as Vice President of Reimbursement Services, he started as a Staff Accountant and was promoted to Director of Reimbursement in 2005. Rick has occupied skilled nursing facility positions in admissions, billing and case management. His primary areas of focus have been Medicare, Medicaid, insurance reimbursement and compliance pertaining to the long-term care profession.

 

Rick is dedicated to helping nursing facility staff navigate their way through complex reimbursement systems, as well as to providing quality, compassionate care to the populations Pinnacle serves.

Carol M. Ramsey

Vice President of Rehabilitation Services

Carol Ramsey began her career in long-term care in 1983 by developing private rehabilitation practices to serve sub-acute rehabilitation facilities in the Tampa Bay and San Francisco Bay areas.  She received a bachelor's degree in physical therapy from Boston University and earned a master's degree in health care management from California State University, Los Angeles.

Carol has served as an advisor to the skilled nursing facility industry and worked with large institutions to help integrate and coordinate rehabilitation services.  She helped build the first rehabiliation hospital in northern Colorado, serving as the administrator of the facility.  Prior to working at Pinnacle, she worked with the Florida-based Brooks Rehabilitation facility to expand its skilled nursing facility and sub-acute rehabilitation unit.  She enjoys discovering clinical professionals who share a love for seniors and helping them become the best therapists they can be.

Craig Gray

Vice President of Information Services

Craig Gray provides strategic planning & support for Pinnacle’s main office and facilities. He began working for Pinnacle in September 2011 and has more than two decades worth of information technology experience.

Craig has worked for a number of global technology companies such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise Services, Symantec Corporation, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), & Hynix Semiconductor. He has earned numerous industry certifications in Information Technology process best practices (ITIL), IT auditing (CISA), security (CISSP), governance (CoBit) and operating systems (MCSE) during his career. Possessing an extensive background in information and web technology, Craig specializes in web server setup, configuration and operational maintenance and is an accomplished webmaster.

 

Craig enjoys the challenging intricacies of the health care industry. He sees exciting opportunities to better serve the needs of Pinnacle Healthcare and its residents through technology. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his two daughters, camping on the Oregon coast, riding ATV’s and expressing his artistic talents through photography.

 

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