Abelardo (Abe) Núñez has been named the new chief financial officer for USC Arcadia Hospital. Veronica Vasquez-Montez, MD, MBA, has been appointed to a brand new position: associate chief medical officer. They will assume their new roles on July 8 and July 1, respectively.

A new CFO

As the new CFO, Núñez will replace Bill Grigg, who will retire after 12 years of service in the role, said Ikenna “Ike” Mmeje, MHSA, the hospital’s president and CEO, in an announcement released on June 19.

“Abe will have the important responsibility of partnering with me to initiate short- and long-term planning with the goal of improving our organization’s financial results and expansion of services,” Mmeje said in the announcement.

In addition to overseeing all aspects of the hospital’s finances, Núñez’s work will also involve advising the board of directors on financial matters and assuming a key role in the development of new business processes, standards and operational plans. He will report directly to Mmeje with matrixed reporting to Chris Allen, CFO of Keck Medicine of USC.

Núñez brings over 20 years of experience in health care finance to the role, having most recently served as CFO for San Joaquin General Hospital. He also spent 10 years at Stanford Health Care, where he was the director of financial operations.

12 years of invaluable contributions

Núñez’s predecessor, Grigg, joined the hospital in 2012 and led a financial recovery plan which brought the then-troubled institution to an investment grade rating of BBB+. He also implemented a well-balanced, growth-focused investment strategy, replacing a cash- and short-term debt-only policy. Finally, Grigg was instrumental in negotiating the hospital’s affiliation agreement when it joined Keck Medicine of USC.

“Bill’s contributions are numerous, and I am grateful for his dedicated service,” said Mmeje.

After August, Grigg will return to Keck Medicine to assist Mmeje and Allen on system initiatives on a part-time, temporary basis.

The hospital’s first associate CMO

Equipped with more than 12 years of leadership experience in emergency medicine, patient safety and quality improvement, Vasquez-Montez will dedicate half of her time to the new role of associate CMO while continuing to fulfill her responsibilities as clinical and medical director of the emergency department at USC-AH.

In her executive role, she will report to B.S. Chandrasekhar, MD, chief medical officer for USC-AH. She will also be a member of Mmeje’s executive team and will work closely with Chief Quality Officer Lisa Johnson and the hospital’s medical staff.

“The associate chief medical officer position aims to continuously improve the safety, effectiveness, efficiency, patient­-centeredness, equity and timeliness of health care service to all patients,” Mmeje said. “I am confident in Veronica’s ability to achieve outstanding performance on key, nationally standardized metrics of quality and safety.”

— Kate Faye