EDINBURG – For the last 12 years, DHR Health, and its 7,000 employees has provided $4 billion of economic impact to the Rio Grande Valley.

At a state of the hospital event Thursday night hospital leadership highlighted achievements from 2018 and announced that in 2019, bariatric surgeon Dr. Manish Singh will be the new chief executive officer beginning in January.

“Dr. Singh is an excellent bariatric surgeon,” Chairman of the Board Dr. Carlos J. Cardenas said. “He brings a wealth of experience to this role and we're very excited about this new chapter in DHR's evolution.”

The address also included topics such as DHR's partnership with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, the future of DHR Health and healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley.

The partnership with the UTRGV School of Medicine is the hospital's promise to deliver the next generation of physicians in the community.

The dean of the school of medicine, Dr. John Krouse said the both entities serve a common passion in serving the community. The UTRGV School of Medicine has 10 residency programs with 169 new physicians, most of whom are receiving their education at DHR Health.

This helps the Rio Grande Valley as Krouse said 64 percent of the 2018 graduating class chose to stay to deliver quality care to patients and to teach other physicians. The school of medicine is also continuing to work with DHR Health to fill workforce needs.

The university works closely with DHR Health to expand the types of services the patients need including trauma surgery, pediatric special needs and maternity care to name a few.

Krouse said the goal is to build together an ever strengthening network of physicians and services to care for all of the Valley's residents, especially in trauma, pediatrics and cancer care.

“There is no question that this evolving alignment between our institutions has been and will continue to be transformational for health care in the valley,” Krouse said.

The school of medicine is also in talks with DHR Health to create a comprehensive cancer center along with a hotel, where students with the university's hospitality and tourism management program receive a hands-on education.

In 2018 DHR Health opened and advanced a number of services including an orthopedic institute, strengthened the affiliation in Starr County by helping them with their ER program and hospice program. The new medical tower was also opened in 2018. It houses imaging centers and the transplant institute.

A few projects that will come to fruition in 2019 will be a children's hospital project, urgent care expansion and expanding care for veterans.

With the construction of several urgent care centers veterans will have access to after hours care on weekends and holidays when they cannot receive care by the Department Veterans Affairs.

“There are 40,000 veterans in the Rio Grande Valley and with the closest hospital 200 miles away, we want to make sure we can provide healthcare here,” DHR Governmental Affairs chief Roberto Haddad said.

DHR Health will also expand on Level 1 trauma centers with high level services that are available year-round. Currently the Level 1 trauma centers operate at 95 percent with five neurosurgeons, eight orthopedic surgeons and all the high level services.

Some statistics for DHR Health in 2018 included: 1.3 million patients seen, conducted 2.1 million lab tests, delivered 7,755 babies and provided $300,000 in sponsorships to the community to name a few.