"This position met both my professional aspirations and also met my personal needs," he said. "It was a chief executive officer position, which is a position I had been seeking for the last two years, and my wife's family all reside in Indio, so this is like coming home."
Selman said he'd previously worked in the Coachella Valley and has come to love it as he and his family will the Imperial Valley.
Selman said his initial impression of the hospital is employees are committed and dedicated to providing quality care to the hospital's patients. He said he has toured the hospital at all hours of the day and night and on weekends to get to know the staff.
"I've found that we have a wonderful, caring group of employees here with the No. 1 goal of taking care of our patients and making sure that their experience here is the best that it can be," he said.
Selman said he appreciates having a board of trustees that supports the hospital and its future and a medical staff dedicated to the hospital and its patients.
Selman said he truly practices an open-door policy and he wants volunteers, the community, staff and patients to know he is always available to listen to their needs.
"My management style is my open-door policy and my willingness to listen to everyone," he said.
On the issue of the hospital's future, Selman was among those who traveled to Sacramento last week for interviews with CalMortgage Insurance, a state financing agency, about the sale of revenue bonds to finance the completion of the hospital's $39.3 million, 66,000 square-foot expansion.
"(Thursday) in Sacramento we succeeded in qualifying for the CalMortgage bond insurance which allows us to move forward on the building project," he said. "We will complete the sale of bonds in April, thereby targeting May to begin our construction."
The hospital addition will be built onto the southwest side of the hospital. It includes an expanded 20-bed emergency room, a 12-bed intensive-care unit, a 48-bed surgical wing, a helicopter landing pad and a new main entrance and lobby area. A separate project to retrofit the facility to increased earthquake standards will begin concurrently.
Board of trustees president Joe Montenegro said the CalMortgage interviews centered on why the construction bids were higher than expected. He said the reason for the higher bids — originally expected in the $23 million range — was due to increased costs for materials and energy and that a large construction company out of San Diego would have to be used, along with payment of prevailing wages.
"CalMortgage was comfortable with our finances," Montenegro, adding the interview committee is confident the hospital's expansion will be accomplished.
Montenegro said the board unanimously selected Selman to be the hospital CEO.
"I think he's a real good fit for this community," Montenegro said. "He's a real sharp guy financially with plenty of hospital administration experience. We're real fortunate."
Selman was selected from an initial pool of 300. He has a four-year contract that began in January. He replaced Ted Fox, who led the medical center for eight years. Fox resigned in July to accept a similar position in Gilroy.
Selman said he tries to spend as much of his spare time as possible with his family. He's married and has three children, ages 4 years, 15 months and 4 weeks.
He said he reads lots of health care journals and remains informed of health care issues in San Diego. He also reads the local newspaper and likes suspense and mystery novels. He watches sports on television and likes watching "Ally McBeal."
Selman served from April 1998 through November 1999 as chief operating officer for the 176-bed Irvine Medical Center and associate administrator of the 130-bed John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio from 1996-1998. He was associate administrator for the 200-bed Meadowcrest Hospital in Gretna, Fla.; vice president of operations for the 258-bed Heart Institute in Miami; associate administrator of the Charter Springs Hospital in Ocala, Fla.; and administrative resident of the 700-bed Memorial Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.
He is an associate member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the American Hospital Association and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.
Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.