Patty Stewart knows Gonzales Healthcare Systems. Of her 28 years working in the healthcare field, all but four of them have been with Gonzales Healthcare Systems. After 17 years as the hospital’s chief financial officer, Stewart had the opportunity to take on a new role: chief executive officer.
“When we had a previous CEO that was here for like 15 years, he left and they interviewed for a new CEO and we got one and he was only here for about 18 months and when he left, I really didn’t think about applying but I had staff come to me and say ‘look, you know what you’re doing, you’ve been here please apply,’ and I thought why not me?” Stewart said.
Stewart initially took on the title of interim CEO after the most recent hospital chief executive left, leaving her with two high profile hospital administrative roles. Now that the interim role has been relinquished, Stewart hopes to soon be able to focus on her new role as just CEO.
“So, we’re recruiting for CFO because it is a lot to wear both hats and I’ve been doing it since the middle of May,” Stewart said with a laugh.
As CEO, Stewart hopes to incentivize hospital growth and strengthen ties to the community. With the exception of a few years, Stewart has lived in Gonzales for most of her life and community is at the forefront of her modus operandi.
“I want the people of the community know we’re here to serve them and we’re family,” Stewart said. “I know so many people here and so many of our staff know people and so it’s like taking care of our family or our friends or our neighbors and we want to provide them the best quality healthcare that we can provide.”
Stewart has plans to provide new services for the region and expand and better educate the hospital staff. Gonzales Healthcare Systems has a clinic in Waelder and is opening another in Shiner in spring 2020. Stewart wholly believes in the importance of hometown healthcare, so as to limit patients travels to bigger cities such as San Antonio or New Braunfels.
“There’s some additional services that we need such as respiratory, a pulmonologist and maybe an endocrinologist to get some services here at the hospital, so people don’t have to go out of town, they can see a physician here and keep healthcare close to home,” Stewart said.
Among other projects Stewart hopes to spearhead as CEO, the hospital is working on a facility master plan to identify areas for expansion and remodeling. Stewart also emphasized the importance of staff in the continued growth of the hospital.
“I know I don’t know all of the answers, nobody can in healthcare, but I know if you hire the right people and have the right people on your staff then you can have people to help you when you have issues come up,” Stewart said.