POSITION: Chief executive officer, University Hospital & Clinics.

AGE: 40.

University Hospital & Clinics, the former University Medical Center, is now managed by Lafayette General Health under a long-term lease agreement with the state that took effect June 24. Leading the hospital through the change from a public hospital to a private-public partnership is Jared Stark, an Indiana native whose last job involved developing a Mooresville, Ind., specialty hospital into a full-service community hospital.

How’s the transition worked out so far?

It’s going very well. We were able to save 650 jobs in this community and were able to keep the doors open and provide services to those who can’t afford them. I’m not aware of any issues that impacted patient care.

What are your priorities for the hospital?

This hospital has two different missions: The first is service to those less fortunate in our community and the second is training tomorrow’s physicians. My main focus is to try to understand the facility, the services and the people as much as possible and understand what the community needs and wants from a health care perspective. It’s a process of working with physicians, leadership at LSU and Lafayette General, and our community about what we want our vision to be.

What are some of the challenges you see here at UHC?

One of the big challenges we have is implementing our electronic medical records system. They are currently on a paper-based charting system and they’ll be going to full electronic. That will be a challenge for everybody, but it will also be a huge opportunity for efficiency and improving accuracy for records and overall coordination of care.

UHC’s orthopedic clinic reopened this week. Is there a priority list for restarting or expanding other clinics or services that were closed

or reduced due to state budget cuts?

We’ll evaluate those on a case-by-case basis based on what’s needed in the community and what physicians want to do in providing services and in training residents. We do want to see growth in opthamology and ENT.

What’s the status of the emergency department expansion?

There were some questions from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals on the plans that we’re hoping to clarify, so once those issues are resolved and DHH signs off on the plans, it will go out to bid. The expansion more than doubles the current square footage of the emergency department.

What’s the expected impact of the project?

Number one: it provides a better environment for us to provide care because right now, our staff is on top of each other. Number two: it will provide a more private environment for our patients to receive care.

What was your first impression of Lafayette?

How friendly the community is. Everybody’s been very welcoming, quick to tell me that they’re glad that I’m there. You know, you don’t get that in every community. People have been friendly and outgoing. Food’s good, too.

Advocate staff writer

Marsha Sills