Eric Goldman told the Town-Crier this week that he is settling in comfortably as the new CEO at Palms West Hospital.
Goldman took over the post last month, replacing Bland Eng, who took a position at another HCA medical facility, Brandon Regional Hospital in the Tampa area.
Goldman is familiar with Palm Beach County, having worked at Columbia Hospital for eight years as chief operating officer and one year as interim CEO before transferring to Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, also an HCA facility. He has served as chief operating officer there since 2006.
Goldman’s wife, Jennifer, and two children, Drew, 5, and Ali, 4, will remain in Jacksonville until the end of the school year.
“They’re going to wait until the school year is out, and we’re going to find a home in Wellington,” he said. “We just didn’t want to change schools and then potentially have to change schools one more time, based on wherever we purchase a house.”
Goldman said he is thrilled to be back in the area. “We really liked the area before,” he said. “We felt very comfortable living in this area. My wife grew up in Hollywood, so she’s from South Florida. I’m originally from Ohio, but I’ve been in Florida for 17 years.”
Goldman received his bachelor’s degree at Ohio University in Athens and a master’s degree in health finance management at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. After Baltimore, he made his way to Florida.
“There was an opportunity in the Clearwater area, and within the first several months, HCA purchased the facilities, and so after working for them for a period of time finishing up my residency, they ended up hiring me to work as an assistant administrator at those facilities,” he said. “Then, when the opportunity at Columbia opened up, it just seemed like a great opportunity.”
Goldman said he is excited to be moving to Palms West Hospital in the midst of a major expansion project, adding a fourth level to the east wing. A special ceremony is planned for next Tuesday morning to celebrate the topping out of the project.
“It certainly shows the commitment that HCA has here at Palms West and has to the western communities,” Goldman said. “Not very often do you get to walk into an opportunity where the hospital is on an upswing. Oftentimes people leave when a hospital is down, and so, fortunately, Bland has done an exceptional job here helping continue the progress that started basically with Mike Pugh back in the 1980s. I feel that I’m coming in at a perfect time.”
Goldman has a record of public service and said he plans to jump back in with community organizations locally, like he was during his time at Columbia.
“I’ve already been asked to be on the board at the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, which I will be doing,” he said. “When I was down here before, I was involved with the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes has a great tie-in with the pediatrics that we do here, so I’ll try to reconnect with them.”
He was involved with the Young Leadership division of the Jewish Federation when he was here before. Also, while in Jacksonville, he was chairman of the hospital administration program at the University of North Florida and was on the board of the local blood bank, the Florida Georgia Blood Alliance. “I have always felt that community service is really essential,” he said. “Next to government, healthcare is the next largest employer in any given town, and so it behooves us to be good citizens in the communities in which we serve.”
Goldman said he has been impressed with the dedication of the employees, physicians and the community toward the hospital in the three weeks he has been on board at Palms West.
“I think that what we’re doing on the pediatric side of healthcare is something that’s very admirable, because not every hospital is necessarily involved in pediatrics, and in being able to advance the causes, and also having the help of our partners with Miami Children’s [Hospital], really sets us head and shoulders above where healthcare is going,” he said. “To be able to have a first-rate pediatrics department, a top-notch obstetric program is a good tie-in for this community. It’s something that I’m really proud to be a part of.”
Being partners with other HCA facilities, including JFK Medical Center and Columbia, enables Palms West to offer a wider variety of state-of-the-art medical services, he noted.
“Things are advancing very quickly, and I think that’s one of the benefits that we have, being a part of a company like HCA,” Goldman said. “We have the ability across all of our hospitals to know which new therapies work exceptionally well, and which ones have not worked as well, because right now the technology is coming out faster than any 20 people could digest. Having the base of a couple hundred hospitals to be able to find out what people’s experiences are, both positive and negative, allows us to be able to offer not just the latest, but the latest and greatest technology to the patients who come to our facilities.”