A CEO’s Philosophy on Visionary Leadership


McAllen Medical Center CEO Elmo Lopez Jr.
McAllen Medical Center CEO Elmo Lopez Jr.
A Laredo native, Lopez says he is passionate about leading the McAllen Medical Center into the future. Serving as CEO of a leading medical center means much beyond the basic requirements. “The culture, the foods we eat, the language – these are just a few essential elements for anyone managing healthcare in our area,” he says.
McAllen Medical Center is the flagship facility of South Texas Health System, the region’s largest healthcare system, and it serves one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation. Led by Chief Executive Officer Elmo Lopez, Jr., McAllen Medical Center has a reputation for service excellence and compassionate care as a result of innovation and advanced technology.
Setting the tone for the hospital with his philosophy of dedication and teamwork, Lopez says he values listening and communicating at all levels of the organization, as well as fostering strong employee and patient relations. “It’s certainly a 24/7 kind of job,” he says.
He believes in treating every patient as if they are a family member, thus treating patients as guests and team members with respect. “They’re very simple concepts, but that’s where I come in with a strong group of CEOs to ensure we’re executing them consistently and on an hourly basis.”
As a part of this compassionate philosophy, McAllen Medical Center offers many educational opportunities and programs to the community, including seminars, classes, events, and support groups. Furthermore, with 441 beds, McAllen Medical Center provides Valley residents with the highest local level of trauma care, as well as stroke and cardiac care, and it offers the only transplant program and substance abuse medical stabilization program in South Texas.
“We have performed 104 kidney transplants, which is a major service to the region, and we’re the region’s designated Advanced Level III Trauma Center,” he says. The hospital anticipates a Level II designation within the year. Part of the designation entails an already established practice of having trauma surgeons in the hospital at all times – including at any point throughout the night.
The McAllen Medical Center has also had a residency program in family medicine for 35 years. Mr. Lopez states, “we’re proud to have graduated 181 physicians, so along with helping the community of patients, we’re also growing the physician community here. Many of our graduates choose to stay in our area because of the high quality of life and because of the need for their service here.”
Mr. Lopez had his impressive work ethic instilled in him by both of his hard working parents, who served as teachers and worked a ranch as well. From an early age while working on the ranch with his father, Mr. Lopez was learning to value skills such as communication and dedication that would benefit him well into his career in the health industry.
Regarding his approach to the role of CEO, Mr. Lopez comments that he finds the support of his staff to be of the utmost importance. “I am definitely not working by myself.”
“We’re building a team here. Not only a team for the hospital, but also a team for the South Texas Health System – the largest health system south of San Antonio, with over 850 beds available to patients and encompassing six hospitals.”
The McAllen Medical Center was awarded the Bill Aston Award and Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber Hospital of the Year in 2011, among many other quality and safety accolades.
With more than 13 years of experience in healthcare management, including service as CEO at Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center and CEO at Laredo Specialty Hospital, Mr. Lopez also received the Universal Health Services Chairman’s Council Award in 2012. Elmo Lopez continues to build a strong team devoted to his vision of compassionate care and excellent, innovative service.