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Home | Tag Archives: umc

Tag Archives: umc

Estela Casas joins EPCHD To Lead UMC, EPCH Foundations

Estela Casas, El Paso’s longest-serving broadcast journalist, announced Wednesday that she will be leaving television news to take on a new role as the Executive Director of the University Medical Center Foundation.

Casas has been a primary news anchor at KVIA-TV for nearly 27 years, after ten years of service at three other El Paso television stations.

KVIA general manager Kevin Lovell said, “Estela has been a main reason for ABC-7’s unparalleled success and dominance in the El Paso – Las Cruces market these past two and a half decades.”

Casas was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2010, and with bilateral breast cancer in 2017. She publicly shared personal details of her treatment in both those cases, and says she now wishes to do more to help those less fortunate than she who face significant medical challenges.

Casas launched the “Stand With Estela Fund” which is on pace to raise more than a half million dollars to assist other cancer patients. UMC named the “Estela Casas Infusion Center for Hope & Healing” in her honor after Estela pledged $100,000 from the Stand with Estela Fund to UMCF.

“I found my passion in what was very nearly the ultimate personal tragedy,” Casas said. “These last two years, following my diagnosis, I have a new perspective on how I can most effectively serve our community. And I’ve learned I want to do more to help people who might not have all the resources I did in my cancer journey.”

Casas will finish 2019 at KVIA and begin her new role in January.

“Estela is the perfect fit for our foundation and community,” said Jacob Cintron, President and CEO. “We are extremely lucky to have her join our foundation. She has already improved the lives of many in our community through her support of the Estela Casas Infusion Center for Hope & Healing at UMC. Her new role with us will inspire support for innovative and improved healthcare in our community.”

The UMC Foundation is a component organization of the El Paso County Hospital District.

Additionally, Lovell announced that Stephanie Valle is being promoted to primary news anchor. She and Erik Elken will co-anchor ABC-7’s weeknight newscasts at 5, 6 and 10pm. Valle has been part of the ABC-7 news team for eighteen years. She began as an intern in 2001, and spent nearly ten years on the Good Morning El Paso staff.

After starting as a reporter, she was promoted to morning anchor and Executive Producer. In March 2019, Valle was named the station’s News Operations Manager and ABC-7 at Four anchor. She and her husband, Scott, have two children. She completed the El Paso Marathon last February, and is on the board of directors for Candlelighters, an El Paso organization dedicated to serving children with cancer and their families.

UMC Recognized for ‘Commitment To Quality Stroke Care’ By AHA/ASA

On Wednesday, officials announced that University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC) had received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.

“UMC is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Jacob Cintron, President & CEO.

“The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes. Our UMC and partner physicians from Texas Tech, along with our exceptionally talented Neuroscience and Stroke teams, have ensured a level of quality and stroke care that is much higher than what is typical at other hospitals throughout our country.”

The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

“UMC is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Jacob Cintron, President & CEO.

“The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes. Our UMC and partner physicians from Texas Tech, along with our exceptionally talented Neuroscience and Stroke teams, have ensured a level of quality and stroke care that is much higher than what is typical at other hospitals throughout our country.”

To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize UMC for their commitment to stroke care,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., national chairperson of the Quality Oversight Committee and Executive Vice Chair of Neurology, Director of Acute Stroke Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States.

On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

UMC acquires highest Maternal Care designation from Texas Department of State Health Services

On Thursday, officials with University Medical Center of El Paso were notified that the center was the recipient a Level IV designation for its maternal care, the highest possible rating from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

“This is a milestone for UMC and the many mothers and families in our region who can rely on us for the highest level of care when a newborn arrives,” said Jacob Cintron, President & CEO. “Our facilities and amenities for new mothers are second to none, along with the exceptional expertise of our partner physicians from Texas Tech.”

Officials with UMC add, “UMC is now one of only three hospitals in Texas with the same level of certification. No other hospital in El Paso is as highly rated.”

A Level IV Maternal Care designation gives certification that UMC has the critical care expertise, physicians, training and equipment able to meet stringent state guidelines for new and expectant mothers.

Healthcare providers throughout the region, for the first time, have access to a Level IV Maternal Care hospital.

“The Level IV designation requires that the hospital be prepared to care for the most complex patients. This means being ready for high-risk situations with expertise, preparedness and facility coordination of high-risk patients”, said Sireesha Reddy, M.D., professor and chair of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s department of obstetrics and gynecology.

In addition to their duties at TTUHSC El Paso, all university professors practice medicine, either at UMC or at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso clinics.

“Not all hospitals can do everything you need to be a Level IV,” Dr. Reddy said. “We’ve concentrated resources at UMC that allows it to be designated Level IV, maintain its certification and maintain its level of expertise. Women and their obstetrics doctors in El Paso can feel at ease knowing there is a Level IV hospital in the area that can meet the highest standards for maternal and neonatal care.”

“Our teams have worked efficiently and carefully over the last few years to raise the standard of care not only at UMC but in El Paso,” said Roxanne Weisendanger, UMC Interim Chief Nursing Officer. “Our nursing staff, physicians and maternal care programs are all focused on ensuring positive outcomes for our patients, especially during critical care situations involving the delivery of a new child. This designation tells the rest of the State of Texas that we are ready.”

As a partner in care with El Paso Children’s Hospital, mothers delivering at UMC also have immediate access to the EPCH and its Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care unit, yet another layer of high-level care and reassurance for expectant mothers.

For more information about UMC’s Maternal Care programs, visit their website.

UMC Gets An ‘A’ In Latest Hospital Safety Ratings

According to the national Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade system, University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC) is now among the safest hospitals in the nation.

“This achievement is testament to the hard work and diligence of our nurses, techs and physicians throughout our hospital to ensure that patient safety and satisfaction are our priorities,” said Jacob Cintron, UMC President & CEO. “We looked at every area of patient care and sought ways to not only meet safety standards but to exceed them. I am happy that Leapfrog has recognized our work toward improvement.

This marks the first time that UMC achieved an “A” grade through the system.

Heading up UMC’s safety standards improvement while ensuring data was accurate and reflective of the care UMC provides was UMC’s Quality Management team.

“The Leapfrog Group is a nationwide organization that serves as a voice for health care safety,” said Roxanne Weisendanger, UMC’s Chief Nursing Officer. “Our Quality Management team, nurses and everyone throughout the healthcare delivery process were focused on making everything we do as safe as possible for all patients. Every one of our providers, techs, assistants and other Associates can share in this success. Most of all, our patients can count on the safest of care at UMC.”

Hospitals receive a letter grade of A through F based on their overall safety performance every Spring and Fall.

UMC’s Spring 2019 Grade of an “A,” makes it among the safest hospitals in the nation. Safety data is compiled from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

Virtually all acute care hospitals are measured and assessed through the Leapfrog system.

There are 28 national performance measures that are looked at through the system. This includes 13 Process/Structural Measures and 15 Patient Outcome Measures.

These measures assess hospital safety, quality and efficiency based on national performance measures that are specific to health care.

UMC Unveils New Mission, Vision Statements For El Paso

On Tuesday afternoon, officials with University Medical Center of El Paso unveiled their new mission and vision statements.

According to officials, the changes are to “better describe the hospital’s purpose and direction for the future.”

UMC’s new mission statement is: To heal, to serve and to educate.

“Mission statements capture what an organization does,” said Jon Law, UMC Chief Strategic Officer.  “We wanted to make our new version as direct as possible. We heal patients including those without insurance or financial resources.

“We serve through our hospitality and commitment to giving each patient an optimal experience,” Law stated. “And, we educate the future health care leaders of El Paso. Our partnerships with Texas Tech, UTEP, El Paso Community College and other educational institutions are key to our mission. This is what we do.”

UMC’s new vision statement is:  To be the first choice for healthcare in the Southwest.

“This vision expresses our goal to ensure our region knows that we can be ‘their first choice’ for care,” he added. “Having a Level 1 Stroke Center and a Level 1 Trauma Center are key pillars toward this vision. We want to continue to grow service lines and improving the patient experience so that the region views UMC El Paso as their ‘first choice.’”

This is just the latest in recent changes for the hospital.  Originally named R.E. Thomason General Hospital in honor of the city’s former Mayor, U.S. Congressman and Federal Judge, Mr. Robert Ewing Thomason, in 2009, the hospital was renamed University Medical Center of El Paso.

Other significant changes to the hospital – according to UMC’s website – have been:

In 2011, UMC completed an expansion and renovation of the hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center & Emergency Department, critical care and nursing units, to all private rooms with state-of-the-art facilities.

In 2012, UMC completed, on behalf of El Paso taxpayers, the construction of the El Paso Children’s Hospital, region’s only hospital of its kind, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

In 2013, UMC initiated a comprehensive clinical plan to expand its Outpatient Clinics throughout the El Paso region to improve access to care for many El Pasoans.


UMC Garners National Recognition From American College of Surgeons

University Medical Center of El Paso joins 83 other hospitals across the country recently recognized by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) as having achieved meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care in 2017.

As a participant in ACS NSQIP, UMC is required to track the outcomes of inpatient and outpatient surgical procedures and collect data that assesses patient safety and can be used to direct improvement in the quality of surgical care.

“This is a fantastic accomplishment, marking yet another milestone of excellence in patient safety and care,” said Jacob Cintron, President & CEO.

“We have come so far in raising the bar for the quality of care in our hospital, in our city and throughout the southwest region,” he added. “This recognition singles out UMC’s positive surgical outcomes and is something we can all be very proud of. Dr. (Alonso) Andrade, our NSQIP Surgical Champion, as well as Dr. Alan Tyroch (UMC’s Chief of Surgery and Trauma Medical Director, and Professor and Founding Chair of Surgery at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso), our entire surgical team of physicians, nurses, techs, and a focus on patient safety made this recognition possible.”

TTUHSC El Paso leaders also lauded UMC’s recognition for achieving outstanding surgical outcomes, which is a reflection of its commitment to quality and its partnership with the school and its physicians. As part of the partnership, faculty members in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) see patients at UMC.

“This recognition makes clear that at UMC El Paso residents have access to the best surgical doctors and care possible,” said Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., president of TTUHSC El Paso and dean of the PLFSOM. “We are proud to have some of the best surgeons practicing at UMC and teaching students at TTUHSC El Paso.”

The ACS NSQIP recognition program commends a select group of hospitals for achieving a meritorious composite score in either an “All Cases” category or a category which includes only “High Risk” cases. Risk-adjusted data from the July 2018 ACS NSQIP Semiannual Report, which presents data from the 2017 calendar year, were used to determine which hospitals demonstrated meritorious outcomes.

UMC has been recognized on both the “All Cases” and “High Risk” Meritorious lists.

Each composite score was determined through a different weighted formula combining eight outcomes. The outcome performances related to patient management were in the following eight clinical areas: mortality; unplanned intubation; ventilator > 48 hours, renal failure; cardiac incidents (cardiac arrest and myocardial infarction); respiratory (pneumonia); SSI (surgical site infections-superficial and deep incisional and organ-space SSIs); or urinary tract infection.

The 83 commended hospitals achieved the distinction based on their outstanding composite quality score across the eight areas. Seventy-one hospitals were recognized on the “All Cases” list, and 71 hospitals were recognized on the “High Risk” list; the 71 hospitals represent 10 percent of the 708 calendar-year 2017 ACS NSQIP hospitals.

Fifty-eight hospitals were recognized on both the “All Cases” and “High Risk” lists, 12 other hospitals were on just the “All Cases” list, and 13 other hospitals were on the “High Risk” list only – yielding 83 hospitals in total.

ACS NSQIP is the only nationally validated quality improvement program that measures and enhances the care of surgical patients. This program measures the actual surgical results 30 days post-operatively as well as risk-adjusts patient characteristics to compensate for differences among patient populations and acuity levels.

The goal of ACS NSQIP is to reduce surgical morbidity (infection or illness related to a surgical procedure) and surgical mortality (death related to a surgical procedure) and to provide a firm foundation for surgeons to apply what is known as the “best scientific evidence” to the practice of surgery.

Furthermore, when adverse effects from surgical procedures are reduced and/or eliminated, a reduction in health care costs follows. ACS NSQIP is a major program of the American College of Surgeons and is currently used in nearly 850 adult and pediatric hospitals.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the care of surgical patients.

The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

Another First For UMC: ‘Freezing Balloon’ Used To Reduce Cancer Risk

In another exclusive-first at University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC), doctors this week began treating Barrett’s Esophagus with a new surgical “freezing balloon” procedure involving state-of-the-art surgical equipment and techniques.

The new tool at UMC: The C2 Cryoballoon. UMC is the only hospital in El Paso that treats Barrett’s Esophagus and offers the C2 Cryoballoon treatment.

Barrett’s Esophagus is a common precancerous condition that affects 3.3 million adults in the United States and is the primary cause of esophagus cancer.  Barrett’s Esophagus is caused by chronic inflammation and repeated exposure to stomach acid that affects the tissue lining in the esophagus.

How it works: C2 Cryoballoon treatment gets rid of unhealthy, diseased or damaged tissue by freezing it away by spraying cold nitrous oxide into the balloon to reach the affected area. C2 Cryoballoon treatment has less side effects, provides better outcomes, patients report less pain after the treatment and it removes unhealthy cells without damaging healthy tissue.

“I am happy that we are able to bring this technology to El Paso,” said Jacob Cintron, President & CEO. “Our community will no longer have to travel to other cities, such as San Antonio or Houston for this procedure as they can now remain here with their loved ones and friends.”

With the addition of this new technology, UMC’s Center for Diagnostic & Advanced Endoscopy now has the entire spectrum of options available to treat the various severities and types of Barrett’s Esophagus for the El Paso community.

Dr. Antonio Mendoza-Ladd, a Texas Tech physician working at UMC, worked on three cases this week using the C2 Cryoballoon technology.

One of those patients, 87 year old, Ralph McCurdy was diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus via an endoscopy procedure. “My doctor referred me to UMC.”  As Dr. Mendoza-Ladd explained, “this is important for our community so we are able to treat patients like Mr. McCurdy before they develop to a more severe stage. With his treatment we can treat the affected areas before a patient gets cancer and save them from surgery, chemotherapy and even save lives.”

C2 Cryoballoon treatment is now available at University Medical Center of El Paso.

For information on services available at the Center for Diagnostic and Advanced Endoscopy, click here.

UMC’s Level 1 Trauma Center Receives Verification From American College of Surgeons

University Medical Center of El Paso’s Scherr-Legate Level 1 Trauma Center has again been verified as a Level 1 Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

This achievement recognizes the trauma center’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients. UMC is home to the only Level 1 Trauma Center in a 280-mile radius of El Paso.

During its recent review, the Level 1 Trauma Center registered no (zero) findings, registering 100 percent compliance/adherence to ACS standards of care.

“This is another great statement on the high level of care that UMC represents in our community,” said Jacob Cintron, President & CEO. “For two decades, we have been home to the only Level 1 Trauma Center in our region and we will continue our tradition of high quality, high standard of care for all trauma patients arriving at our hospital by helicopter or ambulance.”

Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1987, the COT’s Consultation/Verification Program for Hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the prehospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

Verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance, as outlined by the ACS’s Committee on Trauma in its current Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured.

The ACS is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient.

The College has over 72,000 members and it is the largest association of surgeons in the world. Longstanding achievements have placed the ACS in the forefront of American surgery and have made it an important advocate for all surgical patients

UMC To Send Team To Support Hurricane Victims

In response to calls for support and other assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey, University Medical Center of El Paso is sending a contingent of physicians and nurses to San Antonio.

“The devastation brought to our State by Hurricane Harvey has us pulling together as Texas communities and hospitals to support all victims and each other,” said Jacob Cintron, President & CEO.

“I am so proud that we had so many of our staff volunteer. However, for now at least, the call is for a small group but we stand ready to send more, as well as ready and able to treat any victims of the storm, should they be sent to us here in El Paso.”

UMC on Monday received a request from hurricane relief officials seeking:

  • Doctors
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Nurses

Victims from Houston and surrounding areas have been relocated to San Antonio and other Texas cities. UMC’s team will support two large shelters in San Antonio, with each shelter providing accommodations and relief services for 2,800 people.

Video+Story: UMC Foundation Purchases Nearly $400K in Equipment for Advanced Endoscopy

John Yagger had started to dread going out to a restaurant to eat. It had become a nightmare because he never knew if his meal was going to stay down due to constant indigestion and a difficulty in swallowing.

“I went to see the doctor,” he said, “and I had a hard time swallowing. They did an x-ray and he said I had an obstruction in my throat.” As a result, John was diagnosed with a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus.

“(Barrett’s Esophagus) is a complication of gastric acid reflux,” states Dr. Cesar Garcia. “It is where the lining of the esophagus changes to a tissue that resembles the lining of the small intestine.”

Dr. Carmela Morales, gastroenterologist adds, “Although Barrett’s is considered a benign condition, unfortunately there’s a risk of progress to esophageal cancer.” Dr. Sandeep Patel agrees. “And that is what we call intestinal metaplasia…it is one of the leading precursors to esophageal cancer which is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States.”

Before John Yagger came to University Medical Center‘s Center for Diagnostic and Advanced Endoscopy, the only option given to him was to remove his esophagus and to move his stomach higher. “As you can imagine,” says Dr. Morales, “that surgical procedure is very complicated and has a high degree of operative complications and mortality.”

University Medical Center’s Center for Diagnostic and Advanced Endoscopy offers a new non-invasive procedure using radio waves to deliver heat through a catheter to eliminate any diseased tissue in the esophagus. Healthy tissue is left untouched and is allowed to continue to grow. Treatment of suspicious lesions can dramatically decrease and prevent esophageal cancer.

“Ablation is a procedure done with different technologies,” states Dr. Antonio Mendoza-Ladd. “One of them is burning the layer that forms in the esophagus. It can be done with heat or it can be generated with cold energy.”

John’s cancer was removed completely through high frequency ablation. He was able to return to his home the same day of the procedure. In fact as John adds, “We stopped and had breakfast on the way home. Now you beat that one!”

Ablation is just one of many unique procedures only available in El Paso at UMC’s Center for Diagnostic and Advanced Endoscopy.

“We are going to be doing cryotherapy for Barrett’s,” says Dr. Mendoza-Ladd. “We are doing endoscopic ultrasound which this time is only available at UMC. Endoscopic ultrasound opens the gate to do a lot of interventional procedures. We go into the vial ducts. We can go into the pancreas. We can go into the abdomen, really.”

Dr. Garcia agrees, stating, “This is really important because we are providing a service to the community where before they needed to travel to San Antonio or Albuquerque to get these procedures done.” Furthermore, states Dr. Patel, “…what that means is that essentially we are the gastroenterologist’s gastroenterologist. These patients with complicated liver disease, bowel disease, pancreatic disease, esophageal disease….like Barrett’s come to UMC because we have the equipment. We have the technology. We have the service line and the skill set to take care of these patients in a minimally invasive endoscopic manner.”

Thanks to donor support, University Medical Center’s Foundation of El Paso has purchased three EVIS towers for the Center of Diagnostic and Advanced Endoscopy for a total of $147,288. These towers are used in every endoscopic procedure.

Also purchased were two colonoscopes for $82,898 and the Covidian HALO Ablation system to treat Barrett’s for $145,000. In addition and funded through a generous donation from Transtelco was the Texas Society of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy  Live Conference for $20,588.

Dr. Morales best states how “the community – by these generous donations – have really made these significant purchases a reality, and it is a true privilege as a community member and as a health care professional to be able to provide health care for El Pasoans in El Paso.”

El Paso Families Invited to Special Health Fair Saturday

El Paso Families are invited to attend a special health fair for school physicals with EKG screenings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, July 22, at the new UMC East clinic at 1521 Joe Battle Boulevard.

The event will also have free backpacks for the first 300 students who attend the event with their parent or guardian. This event will be more than a typical health fair for back to school physicals. UMC will feature Sports Physicals with EKG screenings ($20) for students getting ready to join their school’s sports teams.

These EKG screenings are to give parents extra peace of mind that their children are ready to start sports for the fall semester.

Features of this special family health fair include:
• First 300 children will receive a backpack!
• Super Hero Appearance (from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.)
• Informational Booths
• Free Health Screenings (BMI, Blood Pressure, Glucose)
• Sports Physical with EKG ($20 charge)

UMC will be offering Texas Health Steps check-ups and Well-Child check-ups for children with Medicaid or CHIP.

Senator José Rodríguez files Special Session Education Bills

Austin – Sen. José Rodríguez has filed a number of bills for the upcoming Special Session, which begins on Tuesday.

The bills filed address the most important issue that should be central to the Special Session, school finance, as well as ensuring that the state does not sanction discrimination against LGBTQ Texans, and providing greater opportunity for mail-in ballot voting while ensuring ballot integrity.

Details and comments by the Senator are as follow:


  • S.B. 40 by Rodríguez, Garcia, Menendez, Watson, West, Whitmire & Zaffirini (comprehensive school finance reform): This bill provides a long-term solution for school finance reform by removing inequitable provisions not based on actual costs, increasing funding for vulnerable student populations, and updating the system as a whole to ensure all our children will get a quality education.

“It is long past time for comprehensive school finance reform, something that not only is necessary but is supported by an overwhelming majority of the public and legislators,” Rodríguez said.

  • S.J.R. 6 by Rodríguez, Garcia, Menendez, Watson, West, Whitmire & Zaffirini (requires state to provide 50 percent of school funding): This joint resolution provides for a constitutional amendment that will require the state to pay its equal share of the operating costs of public schools.

“The State is increasingly funding schools on the backs of local property taxpayers, while at the same time, complaining about high local taxes. True tax reform must take into account the main driver of property taxes – schools, which are the State’s constitutional obligation. In fact, the State’s share of the base funding for schools has decreased from 43.5 percent in 2015 to 37.7 percent in 2019. To address this, I have filed legislation that would require the State to fund at least half of our schools’ operating costs. This would dramatically reduce local property taxes and help ensure quality education for all Texas students.

  • S.B. 41 by Rodríguez, Garcia, Menendez, Watson, West, Whitmire & Zaffirini (increases bilingual education weight): This bill increases the ELL education funding weight from the current weight of 0.1 to 0.25. This funding weight has not been updated since 1984. Updating it would alleviate achievement gaps, expand dual language programs, reduce recapture payments, and help the almost one million students that need additional services.

“The investment in our students is an investment in our future,” Rodríguez said, regarding funding weights. “This is long overdue.”

  • S.B. 37 by Rodríguez (teacher stipends): This bill creates a $500 stipend for those with at least three years of experience, and $500 for those in TEA-determined shortage areas. These stipends would take effect in 2019, since this was not budgeted for in the current biennium. To attempt to implement the stipends now would constitute an unfunded mandate on schools, forcing either local tax increases or cuts elsewhere.

Quality teachers are the backbone of our education system and we need to recruit and retain the best, especially in the areas of math, science, bilingual education, special education and career and tech that are currently in short supply,” Rodríguez said. 

Equal rights for LGBTQ Texans

  • S.B. 38 by Rodríguez, Garcia, Hinojosa & Whitmire (comprehensive LGBTQ non-discrimination): This bill prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the areas of housing, public accommodation, employment, and state contracting.

“Discrimination of any kind runs counter to the values of opportunity, personal faith, and freedom that all Texans hold dear. However, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community still have experiences of discrimination in Texas, without any recourse at law,” Rodríguez said. “There are examples across the state of LGBT people being denied housing for themselves and their family, losing a job because of their sexual orientation or gender identify, or being denied service at business held open to the public. 

“Discrimination is also bad for business. An inclusive Texas is crucial to recruiting and retaining talent, attracting entrepreneurs and company relocations, and maintaining a strong travel and tourism industry.

“S.B. 38 will ensure that all Texans can live in our great state without fear that they will be denied the same protection afforded their friends and neighbors, simply because of who they are or whom they love.”


  • S.B. 36 by Rodríguez (absentee voting by mail): Current law limits mail in ballots to voters who have a disability, are 65 years old or older, in jail but otherwise eligible, or will be out of town Election Day. Mail in ballots reduce long lines at the polls, ensure greater access to the ballot, and have been proven to be reliable. Currently, 27 states and the District of Columbia offer “no excuse” absentee voting, which does not require an applicant to provide an excuse to request a mail in ballot. California, Oregon, and Washington were the first to pass this law in the 1980s, and studies from early 1990s showed an increase in voter turnout.

“I hope any discussion about reforming mail in ballot fraud will include proposals to expand access for the vast majority of eligible voters,” Rodríguez said. “Texas consistently ranks on the bottom in terms of voter turnout – eighth to last in 2016 – and that is the real problem when it comes to our election reform.”

UMC Announces Three Top Nurses In DAISY Ceremony

Three nurses at University Medical Center (UMC) were recognized for their exceptional care as patients continue their path to better health, thanks to the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Program.

DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The DAISY Foundation was formed in November 1999, by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP).

The nursing care Patrick received when hospitalized profoundly touched his family. His family started the now-national awards program to ensure the nurses of excellence and compassion are recognized.

This quarter’s winners are Rosario Gallegos from Telemetry, Elizabeth Templado from Geriatrics, and Daniel Flores of the Surgical Unit.

“I am so proud of Rosario, Elizabeth and Daniel for the work they have done and continue to do for our patients,” said Cindy Ann Stout, Chief Nursing Officer. “Their level of service and compassion is part of what nursing is all about.”

UMC officials added, “One of the special things about being a nurse is the chance to spend so much time helping patients heal…Congratulations to each of these nurses for the high level of care they provided our UMC patients.

Previously, UMC recognized DAISY Award-winning nurses monthly in gatherings at each nurse’s work center. The program now recognizes nurses quarterly in a major ceremony so that the great work these nurses accomplished would be recognized by all Associates in a large celebration in the UMC Cafeteria.

UMC Hires New Chief Medical Officer

University Medical Center of El Paso has a new “top doctor” today as Joel Hendryx, D.O., joins the hospital as its new Chief Medical Officer.

“I am excited that Joel is joining our team today,” said Jacob Cintron, President & CEO. “Our hospital responds to the needs of our community and those needs require a multifaceted, highly skilled, talented, and dedicated team. He will be charged with leading and implementing the clinical direction for the hospital, while staying abreast of new models in healthcare delivery. He will also have a great level of input on the development of strategies to achieve business goals and objectives. El Paso’s complex and vast healthcare needs require that we remain strategic, nimble in our readiness to respond to patient needs, and thoughtful about our long-term business results.”

While typically found in major hospitals of its size, in both the public and private sectors, UMC now has a Chief Medical Officer for the first time in more than a decade.

Dr. Hendryx is widely recognized in El Paso as one of the foremost physician leaders who is able to blend healthcare industry experience, private practice, large-organization leadership, and a passion for ensuring better outcomes for patients.

“I’m excited about joining the tradition and excellence of UMC as they continue the job of taking care of the healthcare needs of El Paso county residents,” said Dr. Hendryx. “It’s an honor and a privilege to begin working here today. As a leader, I will focus on consensus building, while always striving for excellence.

“I will also make it a priority to encourage policy making that ensures high levels of safety, quality and patient care, both mentally and physically,” he added. “I am thrilled to be working with a very talented administration team and all the health care providers. UMC has many of the brightest minds led by the Board of Managers, Jacob Cintron, and the multifaceted teams, schools of doctors, nurses and support staff that have taken care of the citizens of El Paso.”

Dr. Hendryx comes to UMC from the Hospitals of Providence East, where he was Vice Chief of Maternal Child departments. He also served on the Board of Trustees at the Hospitals of Providence East, as well as a Trustee on the Baptist Health Care Systems Board of Trustees.

He is a graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso as well as the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

University Medical Center Hosts Major Hiring Fair Wednesday

For those that that are currently employed as a Registered Nurse, other healthcare professional or just someone passionate about working in healthcare, University Medical Center  (UMC) is hosting  a job fair today, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Via a news release, officials with UMC say they have “an excellent compensation and benefits package – With Nursing positions available in our Intensive Care Unit, Neuro-ICU, IMCU, Cardio-PACU, as well as many non-nursing positions.”

You can join the team by attending their hiring fair May 31, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1521 Joe Battle, the UMC East Clinic.

WHO: University Medical Center of El Paso

WHAT: Hiring Fair for Nurses and anyone interested in working in healthcare, hundreds of open positions

WHERE: 1521 Joe Battle (at the corner of Joe Battle and Vista Del Sol)

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 31

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