To help provide quality healthcare to the underserved, a new interim executive director of Ochoco Health Systems has been named.
>Interviews for Lynn Martin's successor should occur next month
Charla DeHate has taken the reins as the interim director, effective Dec. 3.
"The organization is in the capable hands of myself, the board of directors and co-medical director Megan Haase," DeHate said. "The members of the Board of Directors of Ochoco Health Systems have been wonderful about providing support during this transition."
She replaces Lynn Martin as the temporary executive director for Ochoco Health Systems, which has clinics in Prineville, Bend and Madras. Another clinic may be opened in La Pine.
"We're in the process of negotiating the purchase of La Pine Community Clinic at this time," DeHate said.
"As the interim executive director, I am responsible for the oversight and management of the organization, including communicating with the state and the federal government offices that we work with as a federally qualified health center," she said. "I am still upholding my duties as director of operations. We hired an assistant in order to help with the duties of maintaining the equipment, any maintenance issues at the sites and to assist with employee training. I continue to rotate to each site and maintain communication with employees and managers regarding issues I normally take care of in managing the operations of the three clinics."
DeHate has managed medical facilities for more than 20 years.
"I actually came into it by accident," DeHate said of her reasons for getting started in a medical career. "I took a management job with a one-doctor facility, so he took me with no experience in medicine. But I had experience in management. I came from a computer management background."
She has several goals for the Prineville clinic in the next few years.
"It's actually having a full-time MD with OB care and to be able to assist the hospital with on-call and in-patient care," the new interim director said.
Resumes from "all over the United States" have come in for the position of executive director, including Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, Ohio and Maryland.
"We're up to 22 (applicants) I think," she said. "We are reviewing the resumes that we have received from candidates for the executive director's position and we will begin the interview process in January. The final decision will be made by the board of directors."
"Our goal, above everything else, is to continue the vision that Lynn Martin and all of the staff have shared and that is to place the care of our patients as our priority and continue the mission of the organization, which is to help the underserved with medical care," DeHate said. "We would also like to bring awareness to central Oregon that our clinics in Prineville, Bend and Madras are complete family practice facilities that serve anyone needing medical care, which also includes patients (who) have insurance such as Medicare, Medicaid and private/commercial insurance. Additional goals are to continue to strengthen the financial stability of the organization by moving forward with fund-raising projects and working with a professional marketing group to accomplish the goals we have set forth."
Ochoco Health Systems opened in Prineville a little more than five years ago and she has been with the organization four and a half years.