Brian Brannman, who for three years served as chief operating officer of the University Medical Center, was appointed Friday by Clark County Manager Don Burnette as chief executive officer of the hospital.
Friday was Kathy Silver's last day as CEO. She announced in May that she was retiring July 1 after 4½ years at the helm.
The 55-year-old Brannman headed several military hospitals during his career in the Navy, where he rose to the rank of rear admiral.
He said Friday he hopes to trim the yearly deficit at the institution, which has run in the $70 million range since a 5 percent cut in Medicaid reimbursement payments in 2008.
"We have our financial challenges when we provide $250 million in uncompensated care every year, but there are ways we can work on our revenue side," Brannman said. "We provide excellent care, and that's a story we want to make sure we get out. It's kind of been hidden under a bushel basket."
Brannman said that the criminal charges filed against Silver's predecessor, Lacy Thomas, have made it a challenge to develop a positive public perception of the hospital. Thomas was fired in 2007 amid allegations that he steered $10 million in contracts to his Chicago friends.
In June, a Clark County judge dismissed the theft and misconduct charges that been leveled against Thomas.
"I want to make sure people focus on the good things UMC does," Brannman said, stressing that he plans on strengthening the ties between UMC and both the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.
County commissioners have been impressed with how Brannman worked with Silver and the entire hospital staff.
"I see a real commitment in his work to make UMC a top academic medical center," Commissioner Steve Sisolak said.
That observation was echoed by Commissioner Mary Beth Scow, who said Brannman's 33-year career in the Navy should serve him well at UMC.
His resume includes stints as commander of the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa, Japan, and commanding officer of Fleet Hospital Five in Port au Prince, Haiti.
Burnette said that since coming to UMC in 2008, Brannman "has developed a thorough understanding of UMC and its operations."
Brannman will make $250,000 a year, the same salary that Silver made.
He holds a master's degree in management/health care from the Naval Postgraduate School, a master's degree in management/healthcare management from Webster College in St. Louis, and a bachelor's degree in health care administration from Southern Illinois University.
Contact reporter Paul Harasim at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2908.