FLEMING ISLAND – Everything was so new for Ed Hubel on his first day as the interim president of Baptist Medical Center Clay he sometimes forgot if the door leading into the Administration …
FLEMING ISLAND – Everything was so new for Ed Hubel on his first day as the interim president of Baptist Medical Center Clay he sometimes forgot if the door leading into the Administration Office needed to be pulled or pushed.
After a few awkward wrong-way clunks, he started to get a feel for the 43-acre campus.
“What I’ve seen, what impresses me about this facility, is the first impression,” Hubel said. “As I walked into a facility, I’m looking for, is it welcoming? Is it aesthetically correct? Does it look from a quality perspective? And how engaged is the team?
“That impressed me out of the gate – not the bells and the whistles that we have this imaging equipment or we can do this modality. It’s more of what we offer to those we serve in this community that makes them feel welcome, that they’re entrusting hope and their care to us. That’s powerful.”
Hubel was selected to keep Baptist Clay’s momentum rolling. Darin Roark was the driving force that took years to get a new 102-bed hospital approved, designed, built and opened. Less than seven months after the hospital opened, Roark moved to another challenge as the CEO and President of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire.
Hubel will be at Clay on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will still serve as president of Bapist’s Nassau facility on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“It’s only an hour’s drive,” Hubel said. “That’s not bad at all.”
Baptist is likely to determine a permanent location in a few months. Until then, Hubel is committed to greeting every employee and studying the hospital’s services.
“I look at everything as if I was a patient,” he said. “I want to know what they see. We’re here to heal people physically and emotionally. To do that, you have to look at things differently.”
Hubel’s appointment allowed him to return to Clay County. He went to elementary, seventh- and eighth-grade centers in Orange Park and graduated from Orange Park High in 1981.
“Darin gave us a shocker (by leaving). It shocked everyone,” Hubel said. “He departed and they said ‘Ed, don’t you have a Clay County background?’ I love Clay County. I grew up here. I can remember when Blanding Boulevard only had two lanes.
“I don’t know where I’m going to end up, but I’d love to come back to Clay. I still have roots here.”
Hubel said his first job was wrapping and banding Clay Today newspapers for delivery.
“I can still remember the ink made me dizzy,” Hubel said with a chuckle. “I realized then the importance of being local, being part of the community.”
He originally wanted to be a Navy pilot but didn’t meet the rigid physical requirements.
He got a degree in aviation management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. He veered into the healthcare industry after working an overnight job for years.
He started with Baptist in 1996 as a finance leader. He’s also been an assistant administrator of operations, administrator of surgical services, director of patient care operations and service-line lead for Baptist Health Orthopedics. In 2016, he was appointed hospital president of Baptist Medical Center Nassau.
Hubel said important for a hospital to serve all of the needs of its community.
“We’re in the business for two things: to meet the physical and emotional needs of those we serve,” he said. “It’s a neighborhood. When I meet with the team, what’s top of my mind is how do we make this a better value product for those we serve?”
Hubel inherited a $234 million, 300,000-square-foot hospital that opened Dec. 19. The campus also includes Wolfson Children’s Hospital, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, an emergency room and a health and wellness center called Baptist HealthPlace at Fleming Island.
“This reminds me of Nassau – only bigger,” Hubel said.