Businesses in rural area face a challenge in recruiting top candidates used to the lifestyle of a bigger city.
But for new Pecos County Memorial Hospital CEO Betsy Briscoe, the rural environment was a huge plus.
“I love rural healthcare,” said Briscoe. “And that may seem kind of crazy, but I do. It has an extra layer of challenges to go with it. I wanted to stay in a rural community.”
Briscoe, whose first official day on the job was Monday, June 25, previously was the CEO for the Seminole Hospital District in Gaines County.
The Pecos County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary will host a “welcome social” for Briscoe, at 3 p.m. July 18 in the classroom at PCMH.
She had taken the past year off to help care for her parents.
“Fort Stockton and Seminole are similar in a lot of ways,” she said. “And in some ways, they are not. “
As a hospital district, Seminole was a taxing entity, but also relied heavily on revenue from services for its funding. PCMH is a county entity whose budget starts with a tax base. While the budgeting processes and organizational structures are different, increasing revenues will be a key part of Briscoe’s leadership.
“We will look at adding new physicians and new revenues streams,” she said. “What that means will take time to determine. We will look at things that grow or support what we have.”
The most pressing need is the budget process as the county commissioners need a preliminary plan by the end of July. The current budget is in excess of $50 million.
Coming onboard as CEO here will be different than it was at Seminole, where she worked her way up over 18 years.
She started out in billing with no experience in the healthcare field after arriving in town with her husband after graduating from New Mexico State University with a degree in Agricultural Economics.
“I had an Aggie-Con degree and thought I would go into that – my dad was loan officer road, so that was the road I thought I’d take,” she said. We moved to Seminole – it’s a small town, take what job you can find.
“I didn’t know about Medicare and Medicaid. Once I got in, what I got really excited about was billing getting paid. It’s was a huge challenge then and even more so now. I like that challenge and the constant change.”
Briscoe worked her way up to accounting assistant for the Chief Financial Officer.
She left Seminole for about five years when her husband became a firefighter back in New Mexico. While there, she earned her MBA in Healthcare Administration and also worked as the controller for Yucca County Hospital.
The family returned to Seminole. Her former boss had moved from CFO to CEO, and she was hired as the Program Development Director, where she help establish critical care and hospice programs.
When her boss moved on to a larger hospital, the board approach her about the opening.
“I really wasn’t looking for that position,” she said. “I was flattered.”
Flattered, yes. Certain? No.
“The board came to me and asked if I wanted to take his place,” she said. “I did – tentatively. I accepted it as an interim for about three months. Then I said, ‘OK I can do this.’”
She spent nearly nine years in the role before taking a year off.
“Between the hospital board, the commissioners and the judge, everyone is very supportive of the hospital. That is the key for a new CEO coming in to know that everyone is on the same team, then we can all work together.”
Her husband of 28 years, Dale, is in the process of finishing out the peanut and cotton crops before they sell their farm in Seminole. They will establish a farm in Pecos County.
The couple has two children, a daughter in Hobbs, New Mexico, who just completed her veterinarian degree and another who has a degree in sound engineering and lives in Dallas.