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[February 27, 2013]
Three of four ECHD Board members file to retain seats in election
Feb 27, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- As the Friday election deadline nears for the Ector County Health Board, three of the four current board members filed for re-election Tuesday.
Districts 1, 3, 5 and 7 are up for election on May 11. Board members Judy Hayes, Richard Herrera, David Nelson and Virgil W. Trower currently hold those respective districts. Of the four, Hayes, Nelson and Trower have filed for re-election, with Nelson seeking his first elected term after replacing Ceretha Cartwright, who resigned in 2011 as she moved out of Texas.
Herrera said he "definitely" is running, even though the ECHD administrative office did not have his paperwork Tuesday.
ECHD attorney Brooks Landgraf said candidates often wait until the last couple of days before turning in their applications. Last year, however, the three candidates that filed for re-election faced no competition.
Landgraf said if no candidates file for a particular seat, the seat will become vacant after the current office-holder's term expires, and the remaining board members can nominate and vote on someone to fill the vacancy.
Trower, Nelson and Herrera all spoke of their need to keep Medical Center Hospital financially sound in the face of changes with Medicaid and Medicare compensations. Nelson said he supported an expansion of Texas's Medicaid coverage, though he said the board would "continue to do what we have to do" to treat the uninsured regardless of Medicaid's future.
Trower specifically wanted to address the area's high number of uninsured patients that use the hospital's emergency room, and said he wanted the district to move forward with two proposed urgent care clinics, one in West Odessa and a second near UTPB.
Herrera emphasized the hospital system's expansion, and noted the ongoing additions to the Health and Wellness Center at MCH's Faudree Road campus. Herrera said he also wanted to push for a further integration of the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center with the hospital to provide more teaching opportunities and new physicians for MCH.
"Odessa's changing, and I want to be part of that change in the hospital," Herrera said. "We don't want to be the second choice, we want to be the first choice." Attempts to reach Hayes were unsuccessful Tuesday.
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