Ceja serves hospital well in his position
by Aimee Robinette
The Bolivar Bullet
Daniel Ceja has held his own during an intense first year as CEO of North Sunflower Medical Center dealing with both typical medical issues coupled with game-changer Covid-19.
Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Ceja has lived in the Delta since he was a child.
“My first position at the hospital was interim CFO, and after three months I became CFO,” said Ceja. “After six months, I was promoted to CEO. I honestly never imagined I would rise up the ranks this fast. My intention was to come to this hospital to be a part of something bigger. I wanted to help people. I also wanted to help this facility with its finances to be able to reach its full potential. Fortunately, I was honored to move up and now I have the opportunity to help even more.”
If his name and face are familiar, that’s because Ceja managed Mexico Grill in Ruleville since he and two other partners opened it.
“I loved everything about the restaurant business including talking and getting to know everyone from Ruleville and all the surrounding areas. I took much pride in that restaurant and did everything in my power to make sure that people enjoyed it,” he said. “I worked long hours and made sure that the atmosphere was what people would want to come to and enjoy. I still go there and eat all the time and encourage people to go there even though I am not there or involved in it anymore. It is a great commodity for the people of Ruleville including the hospital to have not to mention that so many people from all surrounding areas that come to the restaurant.”
Leaving the restaurant world, the hospital position would be a new challenge for Ceja, and little did he – or the rest of the world – anticipate the introduction of Covid-19. Ceja found himself in the middle of a pandemic, but worked with his team of medical professionals to enact guidelines and procedures to ensure the safety and health of patients and staff.
“Not long after I became the CEO, the pandemic hit. We had to think fast and react to make sure that the safety of our employees and patients was the main priority. First, we closed down the main entrance of the hospital, second we shut down all visitors to avoid over exposure, third, we also closed the nursing home to all visitors,” he said. “We made sure that we bought and were stocked with plenty of PPE. We had to make some hard decisions and fast.
“With that being said, we were able to minimize the exposure and kept Covid out of our facility for a long time,” Ceja added. “In addition, we set up testing sites for everyone at the local Mexican restaurant, and converted the front part of the clinic into a drive through testing site, which still continues. We have started to transition into a vaccination site to accommodate for when we get vaccines.”
Ceja said Covid has changed the way everyone views healthcare.
“Healthcare has always been a complicated subject and Covid has now made it even more difficult. We will now always worry even more about the simplest things like washing hands, using hand sanitizer, not taking a simple cold as nothing, and even what type of insurance we have.”
With Covid as being a large part of healthcare, it isn’t the only priority.
“My short term goals are to get past this pandemic and get back to some type of normal,” he said. “I am working on figuring out ways to improve the finances and facilitate every way to get patients the best medical care possible. Our area (the Delta), depends on us to be as good as any major hospital in any metropolitan area and we will definitely be here to help out in any way we can. My long term goals are to bring more specialists from other areas to come and see patients in our clinic or hospital so that our patients don’t have to travel far to get all the care they need. The thing that I enjoy the most about my position is the ability to collaborate with everyone at the hospital and make decisions that help improve the quality of life for everyone that chooses us for their healthcare needs. I finally feel like I belong – like I am where I am supposed to be.”
Ceja and his wife, Amy, have three children.