President and CEO
Yuma Regional Medical Center
As the new president and CEO of Yuma Regional Medical Center, Pat Walz is looking to the future. Walz, who was named to the top spot at Yuma Regional in June, has several plans to make the hospital a leader in the health care industry, including implementing an electronic health record system throughout the community, creating a residency program and strengthening the hospital’s cancer care.
He says he wants Yuma Regional to “be leading edge for the whole state of Arizona” in 10 years.
“We don’t want our patients to feel like they need to go to Phoenix or Scripps in San Diego or Tucson,” he says. “We want to provide the same level of service in this community.”
Walz, who has been in the health care industry throughout his career, has been with Yuma Regional for five years, adding that he’d like to stay “as long as they let me. I think this is where I’m going to end my career.”
During his time at Yuma Regional, Walz served as chief financial officer, and the financial stability he attained for the hospital is one of his proudest career achievements.
“We have a very healthy balance sheet, a double-A bond rating and a lot of financial support that makes us able to invest in technology,” which allows Yuma Regional to provide the best health care to the community, Walz says.
In addition to providing a stepping stone to his current position, Walz says one thing he has learned from his background in finance is to always speak the truth.
“From a finance standpoint, one thing I’ve always prided myself (on) is providing accurate information,” he says. “I think when you establish that with physicians, staff, community — anybody — then when you talk people believe you.”
Another way the hospital serves the community is by being a member of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA).
“I think having that connection is really important,” Walz says. “It’s kind of a venue (for) when we have issues out in the rural areas.”
Speaking to the Legislature with AzHHA’s backing gives rural communities a louder voice that can compete with urban areas, he adds.
“(My job is) exciting to me in that we have a good medical staff, an excellent leadership team and some really committed employees,” Walz says. “(Yuma Regional) commits to the employees as well. We have a very good benefit plan. We stay competitive with the areas we have to recruit from … It’s a pretty exciting place to be and the board has a commitment to quality and patient safety.”