Hospital district board meets new hospital interim CEO

ALPINE – The new interim CEO at Big Bend Regional Medical Center met with the Big Bend Regiobnal Hospital District board at its regular meeting here last Thursday. El Paso native Rick Flores started at the Alpine hospital three weeks ago. He has worked in hospital management in El Paso, Lubbock and Big Spring. He said the hospital is “beautiful” and it is “functioning like a machine. I embrace the Alpine community and hope the community embraces me.” Flores was born and raised in El Paso and most recently lived in Lubbock. He was the assistant CEO at Scenic Mountain Facility in Big Spring and has been in the health industry for more than 30 years. His clinical background is in Respiratory Therapy. While still in college, Flores and some friends came to Alpine for a mini vacation and he said he has loved the area ever since. He said he was thrilled with this assignment and looks forward to be in our area. A hospital release said Flores is very interested in what his new community may need so patients will not have to leave the area for health needs.

Hospital public information officer Ruth Hucke said citizens can call her at 837-0254 to offer suggestions and she will create a list of ideas.

Unlike most Texas counties where the district runs the hospital, here the hospital is private so Brewster and Presidio counties have joined for a regional hospital district to provide tax-supported care for the indigent.

Board Member Marco Baeza of Presidio was sworn in after he and Allen Haley of Marathon were re-elected May 5. Haley will be sworn when he is present.

Chair Lisa Taylor asked that the election of board officers be tabled until the full five-member board can be present.

The three board members quickly worked through a 22-item agenda in about an hour.

Many of the actions surrounded new and future employees after Executive Director Quinton Sledge and two patient advocates resigned in early March.

The board hired Linda Stewart as administrative assistant and promoted Presidio Patient Advocate Lizette Rohana to senior patient advocate. Rohana said she looks forward to her new responsibilities. District Manager Jacqueline McCracken said she is happy with the services of Lara and Associates for bookkeeping services.

The board agreed to continue the Sustainable Healthcare Program and to use Community Health Workers to maintain the program.

McCracken said a current grant has a balance of $7,600 and that will be used to hire a part-time patient advocate.

And Marfa Meds operator Jerry Johnson got a retroactive pay raise he did not get when other employees received them in November.

The board authorized a contract with Marfa Realty for the sale of district property at 106 E. Texas Street in Marfa in a bid process.

“This has been working for a while,” Taylor said. “We almost got there in January but there were some wording problems.”

She said the wording problems have been fixed and the contract is ready to sign. She said the bidding will start at $350,000.