Leadership Team - VA Caribbean Healthcare System
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VA Caribbean Healthcare System


Leadership Team

Carlos R. Escobar, BED-Arch, MSHP, FACHE, Director

Carlos R. Escobar, BED-Arch, MSHP, FACHE | 787-641-7582


Mr. Carlos R. Escobar was appointed Director of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System effective February 19, 2019. Mr. Escobar, brings to VA more than 20 years’ experience in healthcare and business with a proven track record of success in managing and leading transformational change. Before joining the VA Caribbean Healthcare System, he served as the Assistant Vice President at the Augusta Health System, Augusta University/Medical College of Georgia from September 2017. Prior that position, he served as Associate Vice President of Business Operations and Facilities at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Mr. Escobar also has previous VA experience as the Chief Operations Officer at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas, as the Acting Chief Executive Officer/Director at the John Cochran & Jefferson Barracks VA Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and as the Acting Chief Operations Officer at the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas. Mr. Escobar holds a Master’s degree in Sciences in Health Professions from Texas State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Environmental Design from the University of Puerto Rico. He is a board-certified Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Leadership Forum and has served on local and national boards of these organizations and the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives. He is an active member of the American Society of Healthcare Engineers.

George Velez, Deputy Director

George Velez | 787-641-5980

Deputy Director

Dr. George Velez was appointed as the Deputy Director for the VA Caribbean Healthcare System on August 19, 2018. The Deputy Director is the Medical Center’s principle extension of the Director's authority, with responsibility for assisting the Director, and staying abreast of those tasks and issues the Director is working on, while focusing on guiding and coordinating operational elements of the Medical Center. The Deputy Director is responsible for taking the lead in coordinating and developing stakeholder support and resourcing to meet Medical Center programs and objectives. In the absence of the Director, the Deputy Director serves as the primary Acting Director, exercising that level of authority, direction, and control over the Medical Center and all assigned resources.

Maricarmen Cruz-Jimenez MD, FAAPMR, Acting Chief Of Staff

Maricarmen Cruz-Jimenez MD, FAAPMR | 787-641-7582 Ext. 32903

Acting Chief Of Staff

Dr. Cruz started her career at the VA Caribbean Healthcare System (VACHS) in 2000 as staff physician of the Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PMR) Service. In 2003 she was appointed Training Director for the PMR Residency program where she still practices her field of specialty. In 2006, she was appointed Associate Chief of Staff for Education leading the cultural transformation for the VACHS, resulting in the recognition by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education with the Gold Foundation DeWitt Baldwin Jr Award, for being model of humanistic learning environment. She is a certified coach and Green Belt and has been involved in organizational health efforts across VACHS. She has served as acting Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff on multiple occasions; her last appointment was in 2017 when she served as acting Deputy Chief of Staff in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria participating in the Hospital’s Incident Command. Dr. Cruz holds active clinical privileges at the VACHS and unrestricted medical license in Puerto Rico; she is board certified in PMR and is currently a national examiner for the American Board of PMR. She holds medical degree from the Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine, where she holds faculty appointment. She has received several awards including Distinguished Alumni Marcial Rojas Award (2009), and the Alpha Omega Alpha Award (2018). She has multiple publications in pain, botulinum toxin, academic topics and whole health.

Iris S Hernandez, Associate Director for Patient Care Services

Iris S Hernandez | 787-641-7582

Associate Director for Patient Care Services

Mrs. Iris S. Hernández was appointed as Associate Director for Patient Care Services of the VA Caribbean Health System in August 20, 2015. Mrs. Hernández provides oversight and authority for all nursing care, 1400 FTEs, and Sterile Processing Service operations throughout the Medical Center. Mrs. Hernández directs the practice and operation of professional nursing across multiple environments of care, providing leadership in the development and or implementation of consistent standards of nursing practice throughout areas where nursing care is provided. Prior to this assignment, Mrs. Hernández performed as Staff Nurse in 1995 to 2000, as Nurse Manager for a Respiratory Isolation Unit from 2000-2010, as Chief Nurse for Operations from 2010 - 2014, and as Deputy Associate Director Patient Care Service from 2014 to present. Mrs. Hernández earned a Baccalaureate in Nursing from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez and a Masters degree in Geriatrics with a role in Administration from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science. She is a 2004 graduate of the Competency Development for Leaders of the 21st Century. She is a champion of shared governance throughout the Institution and facilitating Magnet Nursing principles. Mrs. Hernandez joined the VA system in 1995.

Jaime Marrero, Associate Director

Jaime Marrero | 787-641-7582

Associate Director

Engineer Jaime E. Marrero, PE was appointed Associate Director of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System in July of 2015. Previous to his appointment, Eng. Marrero served as the Chief of Facility Management Service of VACHS. Eng. Marrero began his VA career in 2003. During his time at VA, he received the VA National Award for “Chief Engineer of the year 2006”. This merit was awarded to Eng. Marrero for a successful construction program on facility improvement to include the San Juan VAMC, multidisciplinary clinics (Ponce and Mayaguez), and the Arecibo, Guayama, Ceiba, St. Thomas and St. Croix outpatient clinics. Prior to joining the VA, Eng. Marrero served as a Mechanical Engineer at the “Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division” in Indian Head, Maryland from 1991. In 1996, he returned to Puerto Rico where he performed as a Facilities Manager at the Public Works Department in the Naval Security Group Activity, Sabana Seca Naval Station. He also served as the Manager of the Engineering Section at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. Eng. Marrero received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1990 from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus.