Maridel Acosta-Cruz, right, is welcomed as the new CEO of Eastern New Mexico Medical Center, Thursday evening. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Eastern New Mexico Medical Center hosted Thursday a reception to welcome back a former employee as its new CEO.
Maridel Acosta-Cruz served as associate CEO at ENMMC for two years before leaving in 2010 to become CEO of Alta Vista Hospital, a sister institution in Las Vegas, N.M. She served for two years before she received a call asking if she would have liked to return to ENMMC as CEO.
“I said, ‘Of course!’ I love it here — it’s like home to me,” she said.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Acosta-Cruz moved to the U.S. in her late 20s. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Science from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas. She also completed an international business residency in France.
She and her husband, Michael, have two children, who are both nursing students.
Acosta-Cruz said her goals include building relationships and rebuilding the hospital’s primary care services. The facility is recruiting physicians, she said, and has just started a teleneurology program, which will allow patients with a neurological condition, such as a stroke, to receive an instant consultation from neurologists in Albuquerque.
This way, she said, patients won’t have to leave the area to receive care and family members won’t have to worry about following their loved ones.
“We are neighbors taking care of neighbors,” she said. “That’s how I see health care.”
The reception was well-attended by various members of Roswell’s community, from ENMMC staff and former employees to city leaders in government and business.
The Roswell community has offered her a warm welcome to her return, she said. “It’s just been amazing,” she said. “The people here are just so loving.”
Kim Lanham, human relations manager at Comfort Keepers and a former hospital employee, greeted Acosta-Cruz with much joy.
“We were really devastated when she left,” Lanham said. “She’s going to be a great asset to the hospital and the community both.”
ENMMC Board of Trustees member Andi Smith said Acosta-Cruz demonstrates a high level of leadership needed at the hospital, as well as in the community.
While the hospital has been through several interim CEOs, Smith said, “in Maridel now, we have someone committed to this facility and its employees, who are deserving of leadership.”