[Editor's Note: This is part 7 of a multi-article series on the Commission work session on April 11, as well as on the regular meeting on April 13, 2023. This article continues with the presentations at the regular meeting by applicants for the GRMC Board of Trustees.]

Article by Mary Alice Murphy

The Grant County Commission regular meeting on April 13, 2023 continued with commissioners hearing presentations from several more applicants for the Gila Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees.

The first applicant, Susan Hanna, was not present.

Patricia McIntire presented her case for being appointed to the board. She noted that she moved with her family and 70 head of cattle to Grant County in 1990 because they had a grazing permit. "I was surprised to find a quality health care system here, and I began working as a nurse." She served as a nurse practitioner and as a nurse educator.

"I would like to share with you some of my principles that have guided my practice," McIntire said. "Those principles I would bring to serving on the board of trustees. The first is that all care is critical. My early practice was in critical care, ICU (intensive care unit), OR (operating room), coronary care. The nurse has to be aware of what's going on and needs to be three steps ahead to avert disasters. Nurses and other health care providers need to use all their training, skills and highest decision- making to help patients achieve their best health."

"Secondly, in Silver City, I began working as a nurse practitioner," she continued. She taught also at Western New Mexico University, and the first class was 10. Since then, more than 400 have graduated. She continued with her belief that all care is critical. She ran out of time in her presentation but thanked them for considering her.

The next to speak was John Robert McMullen, who said he goes by Bob, much to his chagrin, but that's what his parents called him. "I extend my appreciation for what you've done to keep our hospital afloat. I have much the same experience as Patricia, and if it is between me and Patricia, please choose her. She's been in the community longer, and I am just impressed by her."

He noted that the commissioners did not have on his CV what he did before he became a physician's assistant. "I stood before the hospital board when I was in high school and asked to become an orderly, which doesn't exist anymore. I was successful. So, I've been in health care for more than 40 years. I later became a paramedic, then I went to physician's assistant school. I also taught paramedics. I went out to rural health care. In my life since 1992, my experience has been in rural health care, first in West Texas, then 10 years in Maine, including on an island where the town ran the clinic, and I was the sole provider. When we moved back to this part of the country, I worked and taught in Arizona, but now my job is online, so I have free time and availability to move my schedule around as needed. I've had a lot of experience in rural health care, although I have never served on a hospital board, but would love to have that experience."

Next, Simon Wheaton-Smith presented. "I had applied earlier, then because I might have had to spend a lot of time out of town taking care of my sister, I pulled my application. However, we have provided her with the support she needs, so what about me? My great-grandfather moved to Mimbres in the 1890s. My grandmother, my father and I have been very active in the community. I had to vanish about 10 years ago, when my first wife, who was a patient at the cancer center here and had congestive heart failure needed to go to a lower elevation. We moved, and she died shortly thereafter. I have a number of skills that I think would be very helpful to Grant County, to the Commission, to the Board of Trustees and to the hospital. I separated them into three areas, medical-related, government-related and managment, conflict resolution and information technology."

He said his first medical-related experience was as a pilot, when he worked for an ambulance subsidiary, flying single-engine and multi-engine aircraft, with not only patients, but also doctors to various reservations in Arizona.

"I had parallel careers," Wheaton-Smith said. "While I had a career, I was also flying, with prior agreement with the companies that I could drop at a dime and go fly. I also worked with the airlines and then I joined the FAA. I was fully certified for inspection and investigations. I was involved in a nasty accident, and it involved blood-borne pathogens. I encouraged the FAA to study blood-borne pathogens, and I ended up teaching about blood-borne pathogens, more than 600 people I've taught. I was the inspector that helped Gila Regional get its helipad approved. I never thought I would end up using it, but I did, last year, because I was also a patient at Gila Regional's Cancer Center. And I got flown out. I have recovered, and I have nothing but the highest regards for our Cancer Center, and I strongly appreciate the way you kept it in house.

"What have I been doing since then?" he asked and continued. "I've been writing the Covid report every week for the past 18 months, published in The Grant County Beat. It's more than 40 pages with a one-page summary. This weekend will be the last, because the pandemic is winding down. Government experience? I'm currently vice-chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission. I also served as town councilor for District 3. Before that, I was town clerk, and before that I assisted Peter Peña in Public Works. I'm very knowledgeable about the Open Meetings Act, the Public Records Request and Robert's Rule of Order. I did my own inspection of public records on what I thought was the ridiculous limit of 75 people in Walmart, when there was another limit on hand. Two weeks later, the state responded that they had no responsive documents, and shortly thereafter, it vanished. Was it because of me? I doubt it. I think others thought the same. I am retired from the FAA, and I also served as a senior mediator with an executive board, where I dealt with a lot of federal agencies. Thank you for your time, I appreciate it."

District 1 Commissioner and Chair Chris Ponce said the Governing Board would hold an executive session on April 25 to discuss the presentations they had heard today and previously. "I can't tell you if we will make a decision that day or not. Thank you for your presentations, and we really appreciate all of you applying and submitting your paperwork and presentations."

The next article will begin with the GRMC monthly report to the commissioners.

For the previous articles, please visit https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/77696-grant-county-commission-work-session-held-april-11-2023-part-1; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/77752-grant-county-commission-work-session-held-april-11-2023-part-2; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/77762-grant-county-commission-work-session-held-april-11-2023-part-3; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/77764-grant-county-commission-work-session-held-april-11-2023-part-4; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/77791-grant-county-commission-work-session-held-april-11-2023-and-regular-meeting-on-april-13-2023-part-5; and https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/77839-grant-county-commission-work-session-held-april-11-2023-and-regular-meeting-on-april-13-2023-part-6 


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