Matt Kempton was officially eased into the role as Stephens Memorial Hospital Administrator at the June 19 meeting of the Stephens Memorial Hospital District.
Interim administrator Ernie Parisi's last day with SMH will be Friday, July 18. However, Parisi will remain in a consulting capacity for one year through TORCH Management Services Inc. (TMSI) after a unanimous vote by the board.
TMSI offers management and operations consulting services for rural and community hospitals.
“I think it's important that we retain these services,” said board president Dr. Gary Fambro. “I think it will be valuable to Matt as an administrator and it will help with his transition to CEO.”
TMSI was created by TORCH (Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals).
The organization was created for the purpose of having an organization that could engage with services on behalf of the TORCH membership.
Parisi announced that SMH will be going with a new emergency room management service, starting Oct. 1. The previous ER management group, ESS (Emergency Staffing Solutions), was given their 90-day notification and will cease their services on Sept. 30.
Kempton reported to the board that he had a “very positive” conversation with Hendrick Medical Center CEO Tim Lancaster and other Hendrick management staff about a possible affiliation.


“Talking to Tim was very positive and he was very supportive of a possible affiliation between SMH and Hendrick,” Kempton said. “I just want to make sure everyone knows that this is just strictly an affiliation. We are not asking them to manage our hospital. They were not interested in that.”
Kempton said he and Lancaster discussed possible integration of medical staff for certain services and that would only bolster SMH's credibility in the competitive field of rural health care.
“If we could partner up with Hendrick and were able to team up with them in certain areas, that would be a huge step for us,” Kempton said. “Having the Hendrick name on our signage would carry a lot of weight and it would only mean good things for our future.”
Board member Mark Dempsey agreed.
“If we could tag with them,” he said. “It definitely would help us.”