Hospital administrator candidates discuss goals

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer

The five finalists for the opening administrator position at Roosevelt General Hospital hail from around the country, including two from the local area, and have differing types of experience.

W. Jeff Commer Jr.

Commer, of Tucson, Ariz., is the founder and owner of Southwest Business Facilitation LLC, which provides services to improve health and wellness in a holistic setting, according to his resume. He has turned the business over to be managed.

According to his resume, Commer has served as chief executive officer at four hospitals of varying sizes since 2001, and worked as the vice president of operations at a hospital from 1996-2001.

Commer holds a master’s in health care administration from Washington University in St. Louis and a bachelor’s in psychology from Arizona State University.

Commer could not be reached for comment.

James A. Faulwell

Faulwell, of St. Michael, Minn., was most recently the administrator and CEO at Avera Dell Rapids Area Health Center and Medical Clinic in Dell Rapids, S.D., from 1999 until this year.

He held a similar position in another health care system for five years before that, and worked as a leader in planning or marketing at six hospitals in turn from 1979 to 1995, according to his resume.

“What interests me is, first of all, it seems like a very good opportunity,” Faulwell said of the RGH administrator position.

Portales seems like an attraction location for him and his wife, he said, and RGH is a fairly new hospital with a number of services.

Faulwell said he would like to “sink my teeth into a new place” and expand it to offer more services. He said his main goal at any organization is to improve it and help it survive.

Faulwell holds a master’s in hospital and health care administration from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College in Iowa.

Larry E. Leaming

Leaming serves as president of the Institute for Rural Health Leadership in Grand Junction, Colo. From 1994 to 2008, he worked as president of a health consulting company and CEO of four hospitals in turn.

Leaming has also been vice president of planning and marketing at two hospitals.

“My interest, having worked in large and small hospitals, I really prefer rural communities,” he said, adding that he likes to get to know hospital staff.

An exceptional rural health care organization provides quality services and a place where employees want to come to work, Leaming said. He said hospitals need to provide excellent service, including good food, cleanliness and courtesy from staff, to patients and their families.

Leaming said he intends to stay at his next position for the rest of his career.

He holds a doctorate in health administration from the Medical University of South Carolina, a master’s in health administration from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s in biology and chemistry from Augustana College in South Dakota.

Richard L. Smith

Smith, of Clovis, works as the interim CEO of Banner Healthcare in Phoenix. He has also served as Curry County manager, owner of RLS Consulting in Clovis and administrator of Plains Regional Medical Center in turn from 1999 to 2007.

From 1984 to 1999, Smith served in financial and business roles with five health care-related organizations.

Smith said the administrator position was a great opportunity in a great community. He has been working on the road.

If hired, he said, he would work with the staff, hospital board and community to determine needs and create a strategic plan to move RGH forward.

“I’ve worked in rural hospitals most of my career, and obviously we can’t do everything. But those things we do we need to do extremely well,” Smith also said.

Smith holds a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Tennessee and an associate of science in computer science from Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tenn.

Eva Brown Stevens

Stevens, of Roosevelt County, has been the chief financial officer at RGH for four years.

She has also served in positions of managing finances, employees, records and administrative tasks of seven businesses, including some in health care, in Portales and Clovis from 1972 to 2008.

Stevens said she felt she had established relationships with RGH medical staff and knows ways to improve the facility.

Stevens believes the hospital has a lot of potential.

“I think that we are a small hospital, but our size allows us to be able to provide a level of personal care and attention that’s not always possible in large facilities,” she also said.

Work in the private sector gave her a sense of financial responsibility and awareness, Stevens said, and she is committed to the community, where her roots are.

Stevens has bachelor’s degrees in accounting/business administration and English, with a teaching certification, from Eastern New Mexico University. She also earned an accreditation as a record technician from the American Medical Record Association Correspondence School.