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May 30, 2023

Watsonville Hospital gets temporary CEO

WATSONVILLE—The Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Board of Directors on Wednesday unanimously appointed Watsonville Community Hospital Chief Operations Officer Matko Vranjes to serve as interim CEO, after Steven Salyer announced his resignation last week.

Vranjes will begin on April 11, Salyer’s last day.

According to Board member Tony Nuñez, Vranjes has been with the hospital for more than three decades.

Nuñez says that Vranjes has among other things helped the hospital near bankruptcy in 2021, as well as the transition from a corporate-owned entity to a publicly controlled organization run by an elected Board.

“We were lucky to have him when we had him, and we’re super-lucky to have him now,” he said. 

In a press release, Board Chair John Friel said that the hospital is in good fiduciary shape.

“One benefit of having a community hospital that is on a positive financial path and led by a local healthcare district, is that when there is transition, the leadership team remains solid and focused on providing quality healthcare,” he stated. “Watsonville Community Hospital is in good hands and solid footing for a bright future.”

In October, Friel says the hospital saw its first month of positive net income in years, which he attributes to Salyer’s leadership.

In addition, improved its financial outlook by renegotiating contracts with major insurance companies. 

New payment rates will generate more than $12 million in annual revenue, and new staffing schedules will reduce spending and overtime costs, resulting in hundreds of thousands in savings.


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