Q&A with Memorial Medical Center's new CEO
By BY JJ VELASQUEZ
July 14, 2010 at 2:14 a.m.
PORT LAVACA - Memorial Medical Center has been grappling with its finances since having to pay back the federal government unexpectedly last year.
The county hospital's financial struggles, coupled with a growing rift between then-Chief Executive Officer and the medical staff, led to the firing of CEO David Contreras, who had been at the helm for all of six months.
Weeks before that, Contreras fired the hospital's Chief Financial Officer Rhett Fricke, leading to a complete overhaul in the top two administrative positions.
Last month, the hospital's board of directors announced the hiring of a new CEO, Jason Anglin.
Anglin, 38, began work June 30 and comes to Port Lavaca with three hospital CEO stints under his belt, the most recent being in Muleshoe.
The Memphis, Texas, native visited with the Advocate to talk about his plans for the recovering hospital.
Q: So now that you have settled in, what do you think of South Texas?
A: I like the area. I'm looking forward to getting my family moved here. It's going to take a while before I get totally settled in.
Q: How will you work to avoid the missteps of the hospital's past?
A: What I would like to do is focus on our future, start to work to develop a strategic plan and work with the department directors here at the hospital, the medical staff, the board and commissioners. And then, in some form or fashion, do some community surveys at some point for us to focus on where we want to be and what we need to do to get there. But I think if we have our plan, then we can all get on the same page.
Q: How has working with interim CEO Jeanne Goche eased the transition?
A: It was nice for her to fill me in on some of the history and what's been going on and what she sees as opportunities in the future. The interim chief financial officer (Duane Coulter) that's here is very knowledgeable, and it's a joy to work with him.
Q: How do you plan to restore Memorial Medical Center back to health?
A: I think the interim team had focused on cost in the short run. In the future, we want to focus on revenue and then also be efficient in what we do on the cost, too. We need to look at ways to increase revenue. To me, a lot of that is customer service and just providing excellent customer service, being friendly to patients and just having a customer-first mentality. Not to say that we haven't done in the past, but I just think it's important to have a very customer-friendly outlook.
Q: Have you started building a rapport with the medical staff?
A: I think now I've met most of the doctors here and got to visit with most of them. And we'll be working to get to know them better and see how we can work together as partners in health care.