Pat Murray '78, FACHE, President/CEO, Administration, Peterson Regional Medical Center
Growing up in the shadow of the Scott and White Clinic in Temple, Texas, where his father was an orthopedic surgeon and his mother was a former nurse, Pat Murray ’78, FACHE says “no doubt the exposure to a variety of health professions as a child influenced my career choice and inspired me to think about ways of serving others.”
For a career in service to others, Pat chose health care administration. He credits Trinity’s HCAD program with opening doors for him and appreciates “the guidance, positive influences, and warm relationships” he has maintained with HCAD professors Paul Golliher, the late Ted Sparling, and Steve Tucker, and he lauds Mary Stefl for the leadership she provided the program.
Having spent the first 24 years of his life along a narrow stretch of Interstate 35 in Central and South Central Texas, Pat was eager to live and work out of state. After a residency and a few years at the University of Arkansas for Medical Services in Little Rock, Pat worked in a variety of institutions in Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama, gaining experience in for-profit, nonprofit, public, system, and independent hospitals. While serving as CEO of a small hospital in Alabama, Pat’s chance encounter with Sparling at an American Hospital Association meeting led to his return to Texas, where he became assistant to F.W. “Tony” Hall Jr., administrator of the Sid Peterson Hospital in Kerrville. Upon Tony’s retirement in 1999, Pat became CEO.
Blessed with a visionary board that embraced the concept of developing a new campus, Pat and his team acquired 35 acres in 1997 and began work on a long-term plan. The first structure, a 50,000 square foot ambulatory care center, was completed in 2000. “That facility—its design, the people who staff it, the workflow we created—was a huge advance in how we accomplish our mission” he says proudly. “We gained significant confidence in our ability to adapt to the changing health care environment and began to change public perception about ‘small town health care.’” Further blessed with “good timing, good planning, and great community support,” Pat and his team continued developing new services and a vision for a new hospital. That vision was realized in April 2008 when they relocated services from the old Sid Peterson Memorial Hospital to the new Peterson Regional Medical Center.
The work hasn’t been without challenges. “Adapting to and changing the culture of how physicians care for patients and conduct their business and helping them understand and embrace the employer-employee relationship has been frustrating yet rewarding and beneficial for our community and the patients we serve” he says. He adds “planning, promoting, and implementing change is one of the great joys of working in health care administration. Certainly during my work life, it has been amazing to witness and be part of the transformation of how health care is organized and financed.”
Active professionally, Pat has served on the boards of the Texas Hospital Association (THA) and the Texas Healthcare Trustees organization and currently serves on the HOSPAC and the TORCH TMSI boards. Also active in his community, Pat is a former chair of Kerr County United Way, the Kerrville Public Utility Board, and the Kerr Economic Development Foundation. He is a past president of Kerrville Morning Rotary, a ruling elder of the First Presbyterian Church, is active in the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce, and supports a number of local causes that help create a healthy community. The Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce honored Pat with the Healthcare Leadership Award in 2002 and again in 2013 with the Bill Dozier Citizen of the Year Award. This year, THA also honored Pat with its Pioneer Award.
While their three daughters were growing up, Pat and his wife of 43 years hosted six different foreign exchange students. “We now have five grandchildren and have been able to visit most of our former exchange students in their home countries,” he says. They recently made their 32nd annual visit to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and are looking forward to the annual Kerrville Folk Festival. Pat also enjoys deer hunting and dabbling in pottery.
Based on his multifaceted career experiences and having adapted successfully to a dramatically changing health care environment, Pat has several pieces of advice for HCAD students and young practitioners: “Seek out new people beyond your normal circle of friends and acquaintances; be part of and give back to your community; develop a voracious appetite for learning; and take care of yourself and those you love.”
Words by Mary Denny