Socorro R.N. to lead Socorro General Hospital
Veronica Pound, a Socorro High School graduate and member of a prominent Socorro County ranching family, took the reins of Socorro General Hospital on Feb. 12, the first time a woman has led a local hospital in at least 40 years, according to Socorro General Hospital Governing Board Chairman Bob Tacker.
Upon Pound’s completion of her M.B.A. in October, she will be able to take over as the hospital’s permanent administrator, an outcome Tacker said he and the board are hoping for.
“Having someone like Veronica as an administrator — she really knows the medical side of the business. She’s come up in the ranks,” he said. “She’s one of the very few home-grown administrators in the history of Socorro.”
Pound has several goals she is pursuing in her present role as hospital administrator, the top being maintaining the hospital’s high level of patient care. The National Rural Health Care Association designated Socorro General Hospital as one of the “Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals” in the nation for quality of care.
She is also working to improve morale among the employees, something that has taken a hit lately.
“Last year was a tough year for SGH,” Tacker said. “We did not give any employee salary raises.”
Employees were also asked to pitch in when patient loads fluctuated, a problem common in small rural hospitals, she said.
Pound said the latest employee satisfaction surveys show a turn-around.
“Our (latest) employee satisfaction score is 78 percent,” she said. “That’s the highest in the Presbyterian Health Care system. That’s a pretty amazing statistic for a small hospital.”
Her other goals include basing the local air-evacuation helicopter at the hospital and expanding the diabetes prevention program.
Pound will continue in her present role as director of patient care, overseeing clinical services at the hospital, along with her duties as interim hospital administrator, graduate student and ranch owner.
“I’m up to the challenge,” she said. “I bring a long history of commitment to the community and the employees.”
Pound, originally from Nebraska, arrived in Socorro with her family in the 1970s. She lives on the Pound Ranch west of Socorro. She and her husband Walter “Primo” Pound have two college-aged children, Jessica and Tristen.
Former SGH administrator Bo Beames was offered and accepted the position of regional vice president for Presbyterian Health Care Services in New Mexico. He and his wife, Dolores, will continue to live in Socorro, Tacker said.
The hospitals board members include:
• Bob Tacker, Chair
• Lorraine Archuleta, Vice chair
• Allen Bassler, MD
• Lynn Brandvold
• Blake Gerard
• Ron Gilworth
• Jason Jones
• Norma Lorang
• Janine Morgan
• Rick Penner
• Peter Romero
• Tim Barrett, MD