University Health System CEO Takes Reins of State Organization

George B. Hernández Jr., president/CEO of University Health System in San Antonio, has assumed the post of chairman of the Texas Hospital Association, one of the largest hospital associations in the country. He leads the organization’s 2013 Board of Trustees, which began its new term January 1.

Hernández has been with University Health System since 1990, and has served as its president/CEO since 2005. He has been a voice in healthcare policy at the state and national level, and was named by Modern Healthcare as one of the nation’s Top 25 Minority Healthcare Executives in 2010.

“The coming year will be one of transformation for the healthcare industry, as hospitals and health systems retool to meet the challenges and opportunities of the Affordable Care Act and the state’s 1115 Medicaid waiver,” Hernández said. “I am honored to serve as chairman of this important organization at such an historic moment.”

Founded in 1930, the Texas Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and healthcare systems. Based in Austin, THA works to improve accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of healthcare for all Texans. It represents 446 of the state’s acute-care hospitals and health systems, which employ some 365,000 health professionals statewide.

University Health System is a large academic, research and safety net healthcare system owned by the people of Bexar County. It includes University Hospital —the only civilian Level I trauma center in South Texas — and an extensive network of primary, specialty and preventive care centers throughout the county. University Health System also includes a nonprofit HMO, Community First Health Plans; a nonprofit multi-specialty physician practice, Community Medicine Associates; and joint ownership of San Antonio AirLIFE.

Under Hernández’s leadership, in 2010 University Health System became South Texas’ first and only Magnet healthcare organization, a status designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and earned by about 6 percent of U.S. hospitals.

As one of the Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems in the nation, University Health System ranks in the top 1 percent of U.S. health organizations for achieving a high level of information technology integration. In 2008, Hernández and University Health System’s chief information officer were joint recipients of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives’ and the American Hospital Association’s Transformational Leadership Award.

Hernández is a native of San Antonio and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Mary’s University. He earned his law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Among his numerous professional and service affiliations, he serves as a member of the “Code Red” Task Force on Access to Health Care in Texas, a member of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Medical Care Advisory Committee, an executive board member of the National Association of Public Hospitals, and past chairman of the Teaching Hospitals of Texas.

Also serving on the THA Board of Trustees from San Antonio is Graham Reeve, president/CEO of the Baptist Health System; and Jaime Wesolowski, president/CEO of Methodist Healthcare System.

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