In coordination with the El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) Board of Trustees, UC San Diego Health announced that Pablo Velez, R.N., Ph.D., has been appointed by UC San Diego Health as ECRMC’s chief executive officer effective April 17.
It has been a challenging time for El Centro Regional Medical Center but authorities believe that Velez’s experience will help improve services for Imperial Valley residents.
“What stood out for me is his success working in a border community with the many specialties and the issues that we face as a border,” El Centro Mayor Martha Cardenas-Singh said. “He has been very successful in the Chula Vista-Tijuana and he has the skill set and the strategic plans to execute the delivery of services in the border region.”
Velez said that one of the first things he will do is to set up meetings with people from the community to put in place a strategic plan to move the organization forward.
“It will be goals with measurable outcomes to improve the care that we deliver. I want to make sure it’s the appropriate care and patient service,” Velez said.
The possible consolidation of services and having one medical district in Imperial Valley have been discussed. The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and is scheduled for a hearing later this month in Sacramento.
“All studies and all reports have shown that because of the population that we have and the low rate of reimbursement that we have that it is in the best interest of county residents that we have a single district,” Councilman Tomas Oliva said. “Pablo is here to take us to the next chapter where he still has to run this hospital even when the legislation is in play. He will be in charge of the day-to-day operations while the board and our colleagues through the region continue to advance this legislation.”
Velez served as chief executive officer and senior vice president at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, a 449-bed hospital with the largest array of healthcare services in San Diego’s South Bay. Employing more than 2,000 staff and maintaining privileges with nearly 600 affiliated physicians, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center is the largest healthcare provider and one of the largest private employers in South County. Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center is part of Sharp Healthcare, a not-for-profit integrated regional health system located in San Diego, comprising four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, two affiliated medical groups, and a health plan.
Velez brings more than four decades of healthcare experience to ECRMC, including over 25 years of experience in clinical care, healthcare administration, and patient care in border communities. Fluent in both English and Spanish, he started at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center as a nurse manager in Intermediate Care Services in 1996. Velez began his career as a nurse manager in the Acute Neurology and Neurobehavioral Units of Boston VA Medical Center and has worked at other healthcare institutions, including West Roxbury VA Medical Center and Massachusetts Bay Community College.
He holds a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of San Diego, an MS in nursing operations and clinical care from the University of Massachusetts, and a BS in nursing from the University of Puerto Rico.