Jason Rounds returned to his home state as the new chief executive officer for San Juan Regional Medical Center, replacing Jeff Bourgeois, who left the position in March 2022.
Born in Roswell, Rounds most recently served as chief administrative officer and associate vice chancellor for clinical finance at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
“I feel right at home. So, this was a great choice and a great fit,” Rounds said in a recent phone interview.
Rounds and his wife are still in the process of moving from Little Rock, Arkansas, and the stress of moving and adapting to new weather, climate and elevation had him a “little under the weather” during his first week as CEO.
“We're just wrapping up and dealing with movers, closing on the house and just anxious to get settled,” Rounds said. They are currently living in temporary housing.
Rounds officially assumed the CEO position May 1. While he does not plan to make major changes at the hospital right away, he will engage in a listening tour to meet with hospital staff, community leaders and stakeholders during his first 90 days on the job.
“I look forward to working together with the community,” Rounds said in a news release. “I want to be sure that San Juan Regional Medical Center is doing all that it can to live up to our mission of ‘better.’ As a community hospital we are all about better lives, better health and better care.”
The challenges Rounds will face in his new role will be the same issues that confront most other health care systems.
Rounds said that in a post-COVID world, those include “finding enough people to take care of our patients, making sure that we're attracting and retaining quality caregivers for our system and within our community.”
When he interviewed for the position, he said a hospital needs assessment is conducted every three years and is currently being completed.
“Completing that and working with the community will be a chance to kind of rebase and see strategically where we’re really going to need to focus our efforts in the upcoming year,” Rounds said.
He said the hospital was in a good financial position and prepared, coming out of COVID, to invest in growth, adjust to the market and contend with inflation.
“The great news about San Juan Regional Medical Center is that it is in good shape,” he said.
Encouraged by the “strong business position” and the “great management team” at the hospital, Rounds said, “I'm really enthusiastic about working the absolutely committed community board that is focused on doing the right things.”
Rounds said the importance of having a CEO that was transparent, communicative and engaged in the community was a high priority personally, and for the hospital.
“That's really one of my primary focuses coming in,” Rounds said.
Dealing with rising costs across the board will continue to be a major challenge, but Rounds believes the hospital is in a good position to deal with inflation.
Another financial challenge he acknowledged was that COVID caused many health care workers to leave the profession earlier than expected.
“There’s a lot of elements that are really driving increases in costs … we need to make sure that we're staying on top of that,” Rounds said.
Staffing and retention will be a priority for Rounds, particularly “taking care of our caregivers.”
Rounds brings extensive leadership experience to his new role, with more than 30 years of executive-level experience in not-for-profit and academic medical centers.
He is also a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. He has a bachelor’s degree in health care sciences from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and an MBA from Centenary College in Shreveport.
“Jason brings a wealth of experience in the growing and ever-changing world of healthcare and has demonstrated financial expertise and leadership,” Sam Gonzales, board chair, said in a news release. “We know that his knowledge and leadership will serve San Juan Regional Medical Center and the community well.”
Rounds said his management style is one of collaboration and consensus building. “So communication is a cornerstone,” he said.