As University Medical Center goes through it's budget process for next year, it's new CEO is sizing up the new challenges and past problems he'll have to take on.
"I will tell you though that when I look at the team and the things they've got going," said Jacob Cintron, who started as CEO July 25, "when I look at working on strengthening our stakeholder relationships with Texas Tech, with the children's hospital and with the private physician community, I really feel strongly that we're going to be able to get there."
Cintron is hitting the ground running, on the job now for about a month and already having to haggle over the major budget issues.
The county hospital district is asking for a tax increase of about 5 percent for next fiscal year. But expenses are still expected to outstrip revenue by $18 million dollars. That shortfall will have to come out of UMC's cash reserves, leaving them with only 33 days of cash on hand.
Turning that around is a priority, possibly with a renewed focus on increasing patient services to get more people using them.
"I know our CFO Michael Nunez would like to see it at about 70 days, which would be more than double what we've got in cash reserves," Cintron said. "I'd like to see it closer to 100."
There's also some baggage to deal with like communication problems that popped up between El Paso County Commissioners, who oversee UMC and its budget, and past hospital leadership.
"I've already set up monthly meetings with each individual commissioners court member so that I could speak to them and give them a venue to be able to ask me any questions they have," Cintron said.
"Despite the incredible challenges UMC has, it's really ready to turn a corner," said El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar. "It has new leadership... the hiring is happening for the clinics. The clinics are going to be opened in fiscal year 2017. I think we will begin to see a real turnaround from a couple of really difficult challenging years."