Before Roldan Aguilar worked as a healthcare executive he aspired to become a physician. He grew up with humble parents who taught him the value of hard work. Roldan credits his older sister as being his biggest role model; she set the example and encouraged him to always pursue his education.
After Aguilar discovered the wide range of careers in healthcare, he contemplated whether he needed to pursue medical school at all. He worked as a healthcare recruiter and at a local urgent care/occupational health clinic until he figured out his next chapter.
Once he got word that San Antonio Regional Hospital (SARH) was searching for a community outreach specialist, he applied for the opportunity. Roldan was familiar with San Antonio from living in the community and from his wife’s grandmother who volunteered at the facility. Even if the role involved more public relations than medicine, he relished the opportunity to step into the industry. Within a few weeks, Aguilar landed his first full-time opportunity at SARH.
Since his arrival thirteen years ago, he’s held a wide range of titles including physician and employer relations coordinator, manager of business development and physician relations, and director of physician business development. Now, he’s the hospital’s executive director of strategic operations.
As one of the strategic executives at SARH, Aguilar works with the executive management team at the hospital to turn million-dollar initiatives into reality. In addition to overseeing marketing and business development projects, he’s responsible for supporting the performance of service lines at SARH by recruiting and developing relationships with key physician specialists.
When Roldan was promoted to his current role, SARH was focused on elevating the level of care it offered patients by bringing in additional specialties to better serve the community.
“We’ve always asked ourselves what [we can do] to really impact our patients and our team and continue to bring those services here so that patients don’t have to commute into Los Angeles, into the San Gabriel Valley, or into Orange County to seek those services that they perceive might be better, when in reality we’re achieving the same results or better,” Aguilar says.
This included strategic partnerships with City of Hope for cancer care and Cedars Sinai for advanced heart failure care.
As an independent regional hospital, SARH had a limited budget to hire full-time physicians, but Roldan vouched to boost the impact of its medical staff. He recruited as many independent physicians as SARH could support.
Of course, to pretend Aguilar waves a wand and makes results appear out of thin air would be ridiculous. However, there is a bit of magic in his leadership approach. One challenge SARH faced was to lower the number of patients who need to be readmitted to the hospital. Many times this has to do with patients not having access to timely and appropriate follow-up care.
“How do we take better care of our patients throughout their entire continuum of care, not just be here in an emergency?” asks Aguilar. “I was recently asked by our CEO, John Chapman, to help open our first 1206D post discharge/primary care clinic right on campus. I’m super excited about it. This is a great step in providing these additional services and reducing hospital readmissions, which also frees up the emergency room for other patients. It’s a win-win all around for the community, our patients, and our hospital.”
Aguilar was also recently tapped with overseeing operations for the hospital’s satellite urgent care facilities and is in the midst of opening a fourth urgent care location in Ontario.
In an era where employee attrition is trending, Roldan’s loyalty to SARH gives him a throwback flair that is hard to find in rising leaders. Yes, it might have been more convenient for him to work for a larger hospital system with more resources. But he stayed true to his purpose. He served his own community.
“I’m driven by the motivation to serve,” Aguilar says. And the future of SARH is looking bright.