Archive for April, 2013

James Vanek Named Gordon Russell Awardee at Annual Conference

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

We had a record hospital turnout for the 2013 TORCH Annual Conference in Dallas last week and members and non-members alike gave high marks for both the content and the networking opportunities. Highlights of the event included the keynote speakers, Quint Studer and John Nance, as well as our Annual Awards Luncheon where James Vanek, CEO of Lavaca Medical Center, was named this year’s recipient of the Gordon Russell Award of Merit.

Each year, the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals honors a rural hospital administrator who embodies the spirit of superior service to their local community. This award exists to recognize outstanding achievement by rural and community hospital administrators for their leadership and dedication to the profession. Gordon Russell, the award’s namesake, was the administrator of Hi-Plains Hospital for more than 40 years and a former mayor of Hale Center, Texas.

Since 1987, James Vanek has served as the CEO/Administrator of Lavaca Medical Center in Hallettsville, Texas. Fellow rural hospital administrators from around the state selected Vanek for this honor. Vanek has overall management responsibility for the Lavaca Hospital District, which includes the 25-bed Lavaca Medical Center, the Lavaca Family Health Clinic and the LMC Health and Wellness Center. He joined the hospital in 1980 as assistant business office manager and served in various management positions before being named administrator/CEO in 1987. During his tenure as CEO, Vanek has expanded the hospital’s services, launched an award-winning wellness program and pioneered the use of information technology to improve care and streamline business processes. In 2009, the hospital won the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals’ Rural Hospital IT Award of Excellence for its efforts to further the adoption of electronic health records.

In the nomination letter by Michael Kent, CEO of Muenster Memorial Hospital, he wrote, “Not only has James been dedicated to his hospital and community, he has been a staunch advocate for rural health care in Texas. James’s work with the TORCH Foundation has provided opportunities for many rural hospitals to gain access to scholarships and his leadership has paved the way for future administrators.”

A native of Lavaca County, Vanek earned an associate’s degree at Victoria College before graduating from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1978. He is active in numerous business and civic organizations, and has served as president of the Pecan Valley Area Health Education Center, the Hallettsville Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club. He also has served on the boards of South East Texas Hospital Systems, the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals and the TORCH Foundation, the Texas Hospital Insurance Exchange, Gulf Bend Center, Golden Texas Workforce Development Board and Victoria College’s Vocational Nursing Advisory Board.

We applaud the selection of James Vanek for this prestigious recognition. We hope that he will continue to provide leadership and direction to TORCH and rural hospitals for years to come.