SOLEDAD — Ida Chan began Aug. 3 as Soledad Community Health Care District’s new CEO, officially taking the reins from Gary Staab, who had been serving as interim CEO since 2018.
The health care district is the umbrella agency in charge of Eden Valley Care Center and Soledad Medical Clinic, along with a total of 150 employees.
“As a new CEO, I oversee the organization’s financial health and I also oversee and work with the leadership team in ensuring our staff health and our staff success,” Chan said. “We work hand-in-hand with the leadership team to ensure both organizations and facilities are working to the best of our abilities to meet our community needs.”
One large project coming up for the group is a new Women’s Health Clinic being constructed on the 3.5-acre property in Soledad. Modular units were brought in and installed earlier in the year, with finishing touches delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. When the center is completed, it will host an OBGYN, women’s health services and an education center.
“The Women’s Center will be a support network for women in the community,” Chan said about the project.
Staab, who originally joined the Soledad Community Health Care District in 2006 as a consultant, will continue as building project manager for the women’s center until its completion, planned for this October. He will then retire after having served in health care administration for 50 years.
Chan’s background includes being an executive banker for 23 years. She said she opened the Soledad branch of what is currently Mechanics Bank, earlier operated by Rabobank. She noted her career has been in finances.
“I’ve been privileged to support my community in their financial health, and now I get to support them in their physical health and well-being,” she said.
Chan explained that Soledad is her community, as she has been Rotary Club president in the past, as well as Rotarian of the Year. Most recently, she has been a board member of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, overseeing grants and programs.
“My community means a lot to me,” Chan said. “It’s a place where I live. It’s a place where I raise my family.”
Chan’s business and financial sense will be immediately harnessed as Covid-19 impacts numerous areas of society.
“Unfortunately, no business is immune to Covid,” Chan said. “Covid happened so rapidly and unexpectedly and businesses were expected to react. Unfortunately, it didn’t give businesses time to put plans in place. With my financial background, it’s going to help set that plan in motion.”
With Soledad Community Health Care District having been around for years, Chan said she aims to ensure the organization is around for even longer.
“The way we plan on doing that is by setting a plan and working together as an executive team so that we can continue on for many more years to come,” she said. “We’re a sound organization, we’re a strong organization.”
Going from a world of numbers to a world of medical care comes with shifts in learning.
“I think everyday is a new and exciting day here, and although it’s health versus finance, it’s still a business. In every business, you still have the same elements,” Chan explained. “What I’ve learned is the dedication of our staff. We have professional staff here, very dedicated to the work that they do.”
The dedicated team is something Staab noted, as well.
“I will miss the dedicated and hard-working employees of the district, which I have been honored to work with these past few years,” he said. “They are the best in every respect.”
Staab said when he retires in October, he will explore the Southwest as a student of rock art and visit his grandchildren at the different universities they attend throughout the nation.
According to Chan, staff recognition has continued with weekly lunches and highlighting employees to celebrate their work and success. Another idea she is going to implement is a new banner with the phrase, “Heroes Work Here.”
“They’re coming in here everyday, tirelessly, helping our residents, helping our community to be the healthiest they can be,” she said. “They are going above and beyond the scope of their jobs to ensure that people remain healthy and people remain safe.”
Chan encourages the community to come to the clinic with their medical needs.
“We want to continue to be the beacon of this community and to continue to serve you with the best customer service,” she said.