Covenant Health Hobbs Hospital CEO Dan Springer stepping down
Dan Springer said telling staff and administration at Covenant Health Hobbs Hospital he was leaving his post as chief executive officer of the facility was one of the toughest things he’s had to do in his career.
So, Springer will depart his office for the last time on Jan. 7 — a little more than a year after Covenant took over operations of the former Lea Regional Medical Center on North Lovington Highway.
Then Springer and his family will head to the Pacific Northwest, to Spokane, Wash., where he will become chief operations officer at the 388-bed Multicare Deaconess Hospital.
But this wasn’t a job change he’d sought, Springer said. A former employer called him and invited him.
“It just happened to be the right time, the right place, for our family,” Springer told the News-Sun. “I decided to take” the position.
Making the decision to move
Springer is familiar with the Spokane area, having worked there several years ago. So, with extended family in and around Spokane, it’s “a place where we always saw ourselves settling down. I just didn’t think it would happen this quickly.
“That being said, it’s very bitter-sweet for us,” Springer said. “We’ve enjoyed our time here. There have been a lot of changes at our hospital, all for the positive.”
One major factor in the decision was a growing family. The Springer’s wanted to settle in a place that would allow the children — the oldest just turned 10 — to settle into school and become ingrained in the community, he said.
“We feel there was some providence in how our path was guided,” Springer said. “I didn’t think it was going to happen this fast.”
Springer was named CEO of the former Lea Regional Medical Center in May 2019 and was on hand through the transition to Covenant on Jan. 1 of this year.
He’s leaving at the height of one major project — construction of the new Hobbs Hospital ongoing now southeast of the current campus — and the start of another involving a major change to how medical records are kept.
The new Hobbs Hospital “is at a good point now,” Springer said. “All the decisions have been made and the construction is well underway. And we’re about to get into planning for electronic medical records transition.”
Electronic medical records will allow physicians at any hospital in the region — Covenant in Hobbs and Lubbock as well as Nor-Lea Hospital in Lovington — full access to all the information they’ll need for treatment.
“That process will start about the time I take off” for Spokane, Springer said. “Whoever comes in will be in a good position to take that over, embrace it and have some really exciting work to do.”
Sam Cobb, Hobbs mayor and a member of the Hobbs Hospital steering committee, called Springer a “bright young man (he’s) enjoyed working with.”
The only other project Springer won’t get to see through is one close to Cobb’s vision for Hobbs and Lea County — what’s to become of the former Lea Regional once the staff moves in to the new Hobbs Hospital?
“We’ve been working hard on the old building, (planning for) behavioral health resources,” Springer said. “We will keep those conversations going and Covenant is going to be involved in that over the coming weeks to make sure it transitions smoothly. We want to keep that moving because it’s important.”
And, Cobb agreed: “My goal and visions is to repurpose that facility as a full behavioral health facility, both for in patient and outpatient, (services) that are sorely needed not only for the community and the county, but for the entire region.”
But, Springer said it’s going to be difficult leaving with projects he was deeply involved in unfinished. But he’s confident they will be in good hands moving forward.
“I’d like to stay and see some of these things through, but it just so happened the timing lined up,” Springer said. “You don’t always get to have your plans work out the way you thought they would. What’s the old saying? If you want to make God laugh, tell him you have a plan.”
The search is on for replacement
Covenant Health Regional Chief Executive Walter L. Cathey said in a statement the healthcare system will continue to support local caregivers and the national search for a new CEO at Covenant Hobbs will begin immediately.
“We remain committed to our caregivers, as we focus on the journey to identify a passionate, dedicated leader who will faithfully serve you, our patients, and the community of Hobbs,” Cathey said.
“The future of Covenant Health Hobbs Hospital is bright, with a new hospital on the horizon and an exceptional leadership team committed to providing outstanding direction for our ministry in Hobbs.”
Andy Brosig may be reached at .
More southeast New Mexico local news at: https://www.hobbsnews.com
More about Covenant Health Systems at: https://www.covenanthealth.com/