New hospital CEO pledges quality, integrity

James Fenton
New San Juan Regional Medical Center President and CEO Jeff Bourgeois, center, talks with hospital staff outside his office on Friday in Farmington.

FARMINGTON — Celebrating new leadership and a "new era," the San Juan Regional Medical Center's board of directors has hired a new president and CEO for the hospital.

Jeff Bourgeois — the former president of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Westover Hills in San Antonio, Tex. — began his new role at the hospital on Thursday.

Before that, Bourgeois, 55, worked for Hill Country Memorial Health System in Fredericksburg, Tex., from 1991 to 2007. He served as chief operating officer until 1998 and finished his tenure there as CEO.

Janel Ryan, the hospital's board chairwoman, said Bourgeois' 26 years' experience in healthcare is an asset that can help the hospital navigate the evolving healthcare industry and regulatory environment.

"Jeff brings a wealth of experience in the growing and ever-changing world of healthcare,” Ryan said. “We know that his knowledge and leadership will serve San Juan Regional Medical Center and the community well."

Bourgeois takes over for interim CEO Jeff Egbert, who has led the hospital since Feb. 29, after the hospital board chose to not renew former CEO Rick Wallace's contract.

Wallace was the hospital's CEO for nearly six years.

During that time, the hospital was named in lawsuits related to inmate deaths at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center — the hospital provides medical care at the jail under a $2.15 million contract — and another one by a former hospital director who claimed she was fired after speaking out against the credentialing of unqualified radiologists.

Bourgeois said the hospital would usher in a new era of increased openness and community involvement.

"After my tenure here, if people look back and say, 'What was Jeff Bourgeois about?'" Bourgeois said, "I think transparency, communication, quality and integrity. So if there's a change in direction in any of those areas with respect to this office, I believe I can be counted on to help lead those changes. ... We need to do a better job. Trust is earned over time and lost in a hurry."

Bourgeois took interest in San Juan Regional Medical Center through friend and interim CEO Egbert. The two met and became friends at Trinity University in San Antonio when Bourgeois was studying for his master's degree in health care administration.

Bourgeois, who spoke to The Daily Times during a Friday interview, said the hospital, with its professional staff and commitment to the community, is poised for greater success. Challenges, such as the statewide oil and gas revenue shortfalls, he said, can be combated by a larger effort toward increasing hospital reimbursements from Medicaid, shortening patient wait times and limiting patient stays.

Bourgeois said he will make an extra effort to reach out to community leaders and key area stakeholders.

"This hospital is a significant component of this community, not only Farmington but the Four Corners," Bourgeois said. "We need to be well represented in the community. We need to have open and good relationships with all the major stakeholders, whether it be the county, the city, other healthcare providers, whether its the correctional facility or Indian Health Services. Those are key relationships that I intend to develop and look forward to."

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.