McAllen Medical Center Refresh Press Conference


Good morning. Hello. My name is Lisa Killion and I am the assistant
administrator of marketing and public relations for South Texas Health System. We’d like to welcome you to McAllen Medical
Center’s press conference this morning. I’d like to go ahead and start our press
conference by introducing our first speaker this morning, we have our Chief Executive
Officer, Todd Mann, from McAllen Medical Center. Great, Thank you guys. Thank you for being here, it’s a wonderful
day. It’s a wonderful announcement to make. First of all, I’d like to thank our distinguished
guests. Obviously the folks sitting up here … Mayor
Darling, Veronica Whitaker, our commissioner, thank you guys for supporting the south side. We appreciate all you do for our city and our hospital. Humberto Rodriquez is our South Texas Health
System Board Chairman. Rudy Alvarez, Dr. Alvarez is one of our distinguished
medical members, and of course Lisa as well as our marketing. So thank you guys. Also want to thank Doug Matney, he’s our UHS Regional
Vice President. I would like to thank our partners, Spa Glass, in this project, McConnell
Roberts, Smith Painting, but more importantly, I would like to thank the staff that make
this hospital a great hospital, and you’ve done that for 98 years. Thank you for what you do for our community
and this hospital every single day. So with that, I’d like to talk a little
bit about the history of the hospital. It’s pretty amazing that McAllen Medical
Center has been serving the community for 98 years. Pretty impressive when you think about it
being the first hospital here in McAllen. It was originally built in 1919 downtown in
its original location where it served this community for 50 years, including giving birth
to my mom. So it’s pretty amazing that I can sit up
here as CEO today and can support the hospital where she was born. We are always the first here. We did a lot of first and innovative procedures
here, setting the lead for healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley. After the 50 years serving downtown, it moved
to this current location. Anybody that was here in 1985 remembers this
project vividly … as the big white structure rose up from the ground. The white hospital as we know it today, with
its innovative design, with its contemporary colors inside. It really became a pillar of McAllen. Not only for its architectural standing but
also for the healthcare it delivered to the Rio Grande Valley at large. An impressive history. Today we are very very excited to embark upon
a project that will rebrand this facility into a contemporary, more modern facility
with a hotel-like atmosphere focusing on our patients, our families, our physicians and
our staff that choose to be here. It is a very, very exciting day. Our parent company, UHS, is investing 22.7
million dollars into an aesthetic upgrade for this facility, which will first comprise
an exterior component of that, the first will be a brand-new parking lot, brand-new landscaping. And as I mentioned, it will not be Hospital
Blanco any more. It will be something else, and you’ll see
the colors. A big day for McAllen and for this hospital. The interior, as I said, is really going to
focus around the comforts of the hospital. We really want to bring that hotel-style atmosphere
and it’s going to start in the patient rooms. It’s going to start with patient experience. New bathrooms, new corridors, new nursing
stations, new elevators, a new lobby, new dining, a total renovation of this facility. If you want to go inside and take a peek of
history, do so because it will look much different in about 15 months. Yes, I said 15 months. This is going to be a very very quick project
with a lot of work going on. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience. Obviously we are a hospital that runs 24/7
and we will continue to do so. So we’ll definitely have to work around
the construction efforts that are going on. But a very, very exciting time. I am very excited about the project, I am
excited about our future, more importantly, I am proud to be a leader of healthcare delivery
in the Rio Grande Valley. So with that, I’ll turn it over to Mayor
Darling for a few other comments. Thank you. Thank you, good morning, it is a very exciting
day. I go back… I started in the city in 1979
so I remember the transfer of the hospital when the city decided to get out of the hospital
business, we actually had some litigation going on, about the ability to do that as
a city. And so the licenses we transferred, not the buildings,
which got us around some of that litigation. It is true, the license, maybe it still has
McAllen General on your license, but that was the license that came here. One important thing is we first started off
with Methodist Hospital of Dallas. They were going to build a new hospital and
after all the plans were done and it kept getting bigger and bigger, they couldn’t
afford to do that, and that’s when UHS stepped in. So we wouldn’t have this hospital today
without UHS stepping in and making sure that that transition in 1985 was a smooth
one and a very successful one. So this is an iconic building for the expressway. By the way, on the expressway, this is a state project out here. They didn’t listen to us, but they’re
going to do a couple of things. They’re going to raise the bridge on 2nd Street. They are going to raise the bridge on 10th
Street and take down the bicentennial overpass and make it an underpass. The expressway will go over it. So you are going actually to beat the state
at that, because it’s a two-year project for the state, and maybe they should have
hired you. This is an iconic building on the expressway,
and it’s very exciting to see that. You know you are in McAllen when you see this
building, when you see the hospital. So we are very excited about the upgrades. We liked the white building, it really
stood out. Great advertising. I asked if they do political advertising on
the wall. I might have a deal with them. A lot of our kids have been born here. A lot of our parents were here. It has sentimental value for me too. So I am very happy to be here. 24 million dollars is great, and we appreciate
all the hospital does for the community. Not only in the healthcare they do, but the participation
in all the civic endeavors. So congratulations. Thank you. I’d also like to welcome Veronica Whitaker,
our city commissioner. Good morning everyone. First of all I’d like to congratulate UHS for believing
in McAllen. And for bringing what they believe is a top-notch
hospital to our city. So I congratulate you and we’re very, very
happy to be a part of this this morning, because it is exciting. I literally grew up with McAllen Medical Center. My father had a pharmacy directly across the
street. So as soon as I was able to cross the street
by myself I was told to go across the street and take the medicines, back and forth. So I would go back and forth to McAllen Medical
to make sure that when the hospital ran out of medications my father was able to
fulfill those medications. I’d take them across the street and I’d
go back and forth so I was very familiar with McAllen Medical. And back in the day my mother was a Candy
Striper. I don’t know what they are called today
but my mother volunteered for many a days at McAllen Medical. What are they called today? The Red Lace. They came from Candy Stripers to the Red Lace. That is great. So I have definitely been a part of McAllen
Medical Center for many, many years and I applaud you today and I applaud again those who
believed in McAllen and to give back to our community. And a facelift is always welcomed because
it brings new vibrations to what you’re doing so thank you again and thank you staff. Next on our agenda we have Dr. Rudy Alvarez,
speaking on behalf of our medical staff. Good morning. I am very proud to be here representing the
medical staff. My name is Rudy Alvarez and I was born and
raised in McAllen and I came back to practice here. I’ve been practicing here with South Texas
Health System on the Medical Staff for almost five years. I am very proud of our medical staff and our
hospital. We have such a collaborative relationship. In a few moments you are going to see deigns
of the hospital. You are going to see the shell that is going
to go up. But what you are not going to see is, some
of the top care, some of the top specialists that we have. And that’s what patients can experience
when they come into our hospital. They are going to see the protocols that are
immediately activated when we recognize things. They are going to see the latest evidence-based
medicine that has been done cooperatively with this administration. Because this administration and this leadership
and our hospital is one of the best ones that I’ve ever seen. They are eager to get physician’s feedback. They want to work with the community. And as we see them double down on their commitment
to the infrastructure, and their commitment to the Valley. I just want to highlight that we have some
of the top specialists, we are recruiting more physicians as we come along. Within the next couple of years you are going to see
specialized care, more specialized care. Services that are not offered in the rest
of the Valley, and we are happy to be a part of that and to grow with the hospital. And we are going to see more of that as the
years go by. You are going to see that clinical alignment
between physicians and between the hospital. And we believe that is the kind of patient
care that can be given. We know that because there is more communication
that occurs and there’s more development. Already we are seeing the hospital collaborate
with physicians yearly on their budget. Whether it’s with the technologies that
we bring in, whether it is equipment, we are bringing in the latest things. Physicians are coming in, they are bringing
in all their training, we are recruiting even more physicians, we believe we provide the
best care here and we are going to collaborate with the surrounding hospitals so we can offer
those services. Help where we can, and also so we can help
our community, which we feel is a very special group of individuals, we feel that they are
family. Nobody is turned away from our hospital. We take in every single person and we are
happy to do that. I want to also highlight that some of our
medical staff are doing some specialized care. We have some of our surgeons who are offering
the intra-gastric balloon procedures, our pulmonologists are doing the endo-bronchial
ultrasound procedures. Our oncologists in our laboratory are doing
a molecularly targeted cancer therapy, which is personalized medicine where patients have
better outcomes because cancers can be treated specifically toward their mutations. And we have an acting Level II Trauma center. We offer the highest-level trauma care in
the Valley. We have in-house 24/7 trauma surgeons and
we hope to provide that care and continue to provide that care. We will continue to bring the best patient-centered,
evidence-based medicine to our community. We are going to further collaborate with our
surrounding hospitals. Our medical staff is one of the strongest
ones with a very strong relationship with our hospital leadership. You are not going to see some of the things
that patients are going to experience but we want patients to know that when they come
in, we believe that having families surrounding the patients is better care. We know that that provides comfort to patients. We are doing the small things. We are providing the fold-out couches where
families can sleep with their loved ones. We are remodeling the rooms because those
are some of the tangible things patients can see. Sometimes they do not know about the technologies
but we want them to have an overall experience and our physicians here look forward to working
with the hospital and providing the support and feedback that they need.
Thank you. Our final speaker this morning is Humberto
Rodriguez. He is our chairman of the board for South Texas
Health System. Thank you Lisa. I don’t know about that word “final.” When Todd was mentioning
that the hospital was here 98 years, I saw Joe Rodriguez, the CEO for South Texas Health Systems, say he hasn’t been here 98 years. No, I haven’t, Joe. I’ve been here 30 plus years, I’m not
going to tell you how many. But seriously on behalf of the board of governors,
thank you very much for being here with us this morning. Lisa told me I had to cut it short and I only
had like 30 minutes. But Lisa and Cari, thank you very much for
all that you do for UHS and for South Texas Healthcare. I also wanted to thank our big boss, Alan
Miller, and his son Marc, who’s the president of Universal Health Services at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. They are the ones at the end of the day making
everything possible … 20 plus million dollars. I think it’s going to really, really change
a lot of things in healthcare, not only on the outside, but also on the inside. Never forgetting from these beautiful faces that
I see looking over here, the number one thing, which is the quality of care for
all of our residents in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas. Thank you, Doug, for your leadership and all
the CEOs, I can truly say that in the last … you’ve been here, what? Five years? Ten? Time flies when you have fun. But in the last 10 years, Doug has had a big job
of getting a great team together, and of course, the results are here of what is going to happen
here, not only on this campus but probably some of the other campuses we have throughout the Valley. The Hospital Blanco is going to be gone, but
the quality of care is always going to be our number one focus, and I thank each and
every one of you for allowing us as board members to enjoy what is coming ahead, I know
it’s going to be a quick 15 months, and God Bless you, Todd. I want to thank the Mayor and Commissioner
Whitaker for being here with us this morning. Adelante and I know that everyone is going
to really really be in awe when we do the ribbon cutting. God Bless you, have a good day and God bless
UHS. We are going to go ahead and unveil the structure
behind us that has the photos of the renovation project so we can see a little bit more about
what the facility will look like not only from the outside but from the inside. We’d also like our guests to go to the side
of the hospital. We are going to have a commemorative “Paint
The Wall” ceremony. We will have our VIPs go out there and participate,
and we want you guys to also help us paint the wall. So we’ve got 12 golden roller brushes and
some helmets and so we want to use this as an opportunity to do some photo sharing on
social media so if you have any social media aps please use it and share it and spread
the news. We’re going to move the display to the side
of the tent and you can also take photos of that and share. So we’ll be doing a lot of that over the
next couple of months. So let’s have some fun painting. Thank you very much for joining us today.

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