The new president of Integris Bass Baptist Health Center is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of his new position.

Finny Mathew started his position at Integris Bass on Jan. 2, and after a two-day orientation has started settling into his new job.

Mathew began his health care career at Integris in 2006 as an administrative resident, according to an Integris press release.

He remained with Integris following his residency and was promoted to director of operations for Integris Baptist Medical Center in 2009.

Most recently, he served as the chief executive officer for Crossroads Community Hospital in Mount Vernon, Ill., a hospital that serves a community of about 15,000 people and a total of about 40,000 people in a rural service area.

After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Dallas, Mathew received a master of science in health care administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.

He is a member of American College of Healthcare Executives and a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City Loyal Class IV.

Mathew said Wednesday the job “still feels brand new,” but he’s enjoyed exploring his new community.

“So far it’s been great,” Mathew said. “I’ve had an opportunity to explore and meet a lot of community members and board members, and I’m excited to be in Enid.”

As he settles into his new job, Mathew faces a challenge shared by health care executives across the state: tightening budgets, particularly due to state Medicaid cuts.

“For me, it’s always important that we focus on our mission to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve, and that has become harder as the state budget has become tighter, but we still stay true to our mission,” Mathew said.

He said the challenge of planning for tightening state budgets will be hardest in the emergency room and other emergent medical services, due to the uncertainty involved in demand for those services.

Mathew said recruiting and retaining physicians also will be a challenge — a challenge shared by other hospitals.

“Physician and staff recruiting is a challenge across the country, so what we face here is no different than Oklahoma City or Tulsa,” Mathew said.

He said he will be focusing on recruiting physicians and skilled staff who want to be involved in all Enid has to offer.

“There are a lot of people like me who like communities the size of Enid,” Mathew said. “That’s where we want to live and work, and we do a good job of finding those people.”

Mathew said he and his staff also will face the challenge of balancing budget demands against the range of services the hospital will provide.

“Hospitals across the country are required to regularly look at the service lines they offer to make sure they’re effectively serving their patient population,” Mathew said.

The challenge of striking that balance affects patients across a large geographic area, he said.

“We love taking care of patients — that’s our passion,” Mathew said. “When people need us, we want to be there for them, and when I look at the population we serve, it stretches north into Kansas and west into the Panhandle, and we find that an incredibly rewarding and challenging responsibility on our shoulders.”

Services will be expanding in the near future, Mathew said, with Integris scheduled to open in March a new cancer center with 12 patient bays.

In the short term Mathew said he will be working to get to know the approximately 800 Integris employees in Enid.

“I think getting to know the staff is going to be very exciting,” he said. “One of the things that became very clear during my interview process here is all of the staff, at all levels, are very passionate about serving patients in the Enid area.”

Mathew said he and his wife Cassie are in the process of closing on a house in Enid, and she and their two children, Parker, 6, and Libby, 1 1/2 half, then will move to Enid from Illinois.

Mathew said Cassie is trained as a registered nurse, but right now is a full-time stay-at-home mom. The couple’s oldest child will attend Emmanuel Christian School.

Story provided by:  Enid News & Eagle

Written by:  James Neal