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News - Preferred Appoints New Corporate Leader for Patient Quality

January 8, 2015

A new leader for quality initiatives at Schleicher County Medical Center was recently appointed by Preferred Management Corporation.  Kathleen Kathy” Mechler, RN, is the latest addition to the Preferred Management team who support the 10 hospitals affiliated with Preferred.  

“Kathy has focused on the design and implementation of healthcare quality projects since 2000, working as the director/chief operating officer of the Texas Health Quality Alliance until 2002, and then as co-director/chief operating officer of the Rural & Community Health Institute at the Texas A&M Health Sciences Center through the end of 2014,” said Mike Easley, chief operating officer of Preferred.  

“She was responsible for the development of the virtual physician peer review program that we use at most of our hospitals,” noted Easley “and served as the coordinator for numerous projects addressing healthcare information technology, patient safety, patient satisfaction, medical record reviews and hospital errors.”  

Mechler will be based in the Austin, Texas, office of Preferred, and will work closely with the administrators and chief nursing officers of Preferred facilities.  Other responsibilities assumed by Mechler under the quality umbrella include development and enhancement of nursing standards, corporate compliance, regulatory surveys and risk management.   

“Helping colleagues improve quality of care provided to patients has always been my primary focus,” commented Mechler.  “The advent of electronic medical records has added to the complexity of healthcare. However, it has created opportunities for improvements in quality,” she continued, “which makes the integration of information technology and quality paramount in the future.”      

Mechler also brings significant management and clinical experience to her position, serving as the administrator of a psychiatric hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, and as nursing supervisor for Santa Rosa Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Throughout her career, Mechler has been active in various professional organizations, serving as:  a gubernatorial appointment to the Texas Health Services Authority; a member of the technical advisory panel for the Joint Commission Critical Access Hospital Project; a member of the editorial board of the National Association for Healthcare Quality; a Code Red task force member on a statewide commission to evaluate the status of the underinsured and uninsured in Texas.  

Mechler received her Masters of Science in Health Professions and her Bachelors of Science in Health Professions from Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, and her Registered Nursing Degree from San Antonio College, San Antonio, Texas.  

“We are pleased that Kathy has joined our team,” said Andy Freeman, president of Preferred.  “Providing high quality patient care is our top priority,” he continued, “and we know that Kathy will help to maintain and enhance our standards.”

Kathy Mechler, MS, RN, CPHQ, is the new Director of Clinical Services for Preferred Management Corporation.