Cuero hospital hires new CEO

Rye Druzin By Rye Druzin

May 10, 2016 at 10:48 p.m.
Updated May 11, 2016 at 6 a.m.

Lynn Falcone was named Cuero Community Hospital's CEO.

Lynn Falcone was named Cuero Community Hospital's CEO.   Contributed photo for The Victoria Advocate

After two months of searching, Cuero Community Hospital has found a new leader.

Health care veteran Lynn Falcone was tapped as CEO on Thursday. Her predecessor, Skip Gjolberg, had resigned and moved to West Virginia in March to be closer to family after a 21/2-year stint with the hospital.

"I strongly believe that if it wasn't for our patients, we wouldn't be there," Falcone said. "My focus will be to enhance that great foundation that's already there."

Falcone was chosen out of more than two dozen applicants and voted for by the Hospital's Board of Directors said Geoffrey Crabtree, senior vice president of Methodist Healthcare's San Antonio region.

"We are only going to bring our rural managed hospitals CEO applicants that we would want to hire to run one of our hospitals," Crabtree said. "So the bar is high, and so that is how that process works."

Falcone is set to start work May 23, and she has worked in health care since 1991 when she began as a health system specialist at South Texas Veterans Hospital in San Antonio.

Falcone's latest job was chief operating officer at Resolute Health Hospital, a Baptist affiliate in New Braunfels, where she oversaw the design, construction and management of the $220 million facility.

She said although she participated in a hospital expansion in San Antonio, being able to be a part of a hospital's creation from the ground up "was very special."

Falcone was laid off last year after the Resolute Health Hospital's owner, Tennessee-based Vanguard Health Systems, was bought by Texas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. Tenet officials said they believed the New Braunfels facility did not have the growth to require a chief operating officer, leading to Falcone's departure.

Falcone said she sees Cuero Community Hospital as a step in the right direction for her.

"I wanted to come to an organization that was focused on the patient and patient safety and was a sound organization that was really looking to grow," she said. "Cuero has a lot of opportunities for new programs. There's a great staff there, and I think that it's really poised nicely to be able to grow and serve the surrounding community and the area."

No members of Cuero Community Hospital's Board of Directors were able to be reached for comment.

In a press release Thursday, Board Chairman Rick Wheeler said Falcone's "focus has always been on placing patients first, growing services and financial responsibility."

Under an affiliation agreement with Methodist Healthcare signed by the hospital's board in December 2015, Cuero's CEO would become an employee of Methodist Healthcare but would answer to the Hospital's Board of Directors.

Gjolberg, who was the CEO of Cuero Community Hospital at the time, became an employee of Methodist Healthcare. But with his resignation, Methodist took on the responsibility of finding his replacement.

In handling the national search, Methodist brought multiple candidates to the hospital's board, who then reviewed and voted on the final candidate.

Without the affiliation agreement, Cuero Community Hospital would have hired an outside search firm to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, Crabtree said. The affiliation agreement, which costs the hospital $104,000 a year, was signed in December.

"Our obligation is to find the very best, and we found several candidates that were the very best and the board reviewed them, and its their responsibility to hire the best - we just simply assisted in that responsibility," Crabtree said. "Nothing at all has changed. What we hope they have received in this process is an excellent CEO with lots of experience."



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