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New HCA Healthcare exec strives to bring ‘world-class care close to home’

Jackie DeSouza-Van Blaricum began on Tuesday as president of HCA Healthcare Far West Division, with oversight of eight hospitals and multiple health care facilities throughout Las Vegas and California.

Headquartered in the Las Vegas Valley, the division encompasses the Sunrise Health System, including Sunrise, Sunrise Children’s, Southern Hills and MountainView hospitals.

Van Blaricum, 48, has been with HCA Healthcare for more than 20 years, nearly half that time as a hospital CEO. Most recently, she led Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, California, for about four years. Before that she led Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, for five years.

“My big aspiration is bringing world-class care close to home,” Van Blaricum said in an interview Tuesday. “I think everybody deserves that opportunity to have world-class care in their backyard. … And I also want to work with our leaders to create the best places for people to work.”

Key to both goals is recruitment and retention of nurses and doctors in the face of ongoing nationwide staffing shortages.

“Having strong cultures allows us to continue to retain our colleagues and to recruit additional top talent to our organizations,” she said.

Van Blaricum, the first Latina to lead the division, said she is a “big believer in our diversity and inclusion initiatives, making sure people have a voice, doing a lot of learning and listening, and then rolling out various different strategies and tactics that come from our colleagues and our physicians who are at the bedside.”

The Far West Division works with nursing colleges to create a “pipeline for nurse interns so that ultimately they can become residents and then permanent parts of our team,” she said.

It also has residency programs for training doctors with the hope of retaining them.

“We see that as both a challenge and an opportunity,” she said.

National Group President Tim McManus said in a news release, “Jackie is an engaging healthcare leader who is well-respected by patients, colleagues and physicians. We’re all excited about the fresh perspective, grounded by her hard work and operational excellence, that she brings to the Far West Division.”

The Far West Division has a network of eight hospitals, one pediatric hospital, four freestanding emergency room locations, 17 CareNow Urgent Care locations, 11 ambulatory surgery centers, 11 outpatient practices, and 29 graduate medical education and fellowship programs.

In total, HCA Healthcare has a network of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care in 20 states and the United Kingdom.

Van Blaricum said she firmly believes in HCA Healthcare’s mission.

“Above all else, we’re committed to the care and improvement of human life,” she said. “And for me, those aren’t just words on paper. But that’s really important that we translate our values into actions to deliver on that mission.”

She said she saw this in practice last week in the compassion and respect that the Riverside hospital showed to the family and fellow officers of a deputy sheriff who died after being shot during a traffic stop. And she saw it as Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center prepared for a possible influx of patients on New Year’s Eve, which turned out to be a calm night in Las Vegas.

The daughter of a pulmonary critical care physician father and a conservationist mother, Van Blaricum grew up in northern Virginia outside of Washington, D.C. She received a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University in Virginia and a master’s degree in health care administration and management from Virginia Commonwealth University. She began with HCA as an administrative resident.

She sees an opportunity to demonstrate that anything’s possible “through hard work, a lot of grit and tenacity, and being very mission-driven, and that’s ultimately what my parents taught me, and I’m proud of that fact,” she said. “I very much believe in our supporting and growing others in our organization for them to achieve their goals.”

Van Blaricum’s husband and two teenage daughters plan to join her in Las Vegas after the end of the school year in Riverside.

“We’re excited about this new adventure,” she said.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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