VA Caribbean Healthcare System
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, MBA, DHA, CFAAMA, FACHE | 787-641-5980
Dr. George Velez is the Deputy Medical Center Director for the VA Caribbean Healthcare System. The Deputy Director is the Medical Center’s primary extension of the Executive Director's authority. Dr. Velez is tasked with the responsibility of assisting the Executive Director and staying abreast of the undertakings the Executive Director is working on, while focusing on guiding and coordinating operational elements of the Medical Center. In the absence of the Executive Director, the Deputy Director serves as the primary acting Director, exercising and assuming that level of responsibility, authority, direction, and oversight. Dr. Velez is a retired 20-year U.S. Air Force Veteran, with service in the Air Force-Active Duty and in the Air National Guard where he served in various roles to include Healthcare Administrator. He participated and led multiple worldwide deployments to include humanitarian aid missions. Dr. Velez received the Theodore C. Marrs Award which recognized him as the Air National Guard Health Administrator of the Year. He also is the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal and United States Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, Second Oak Leaf Cluster. After retiring from the Air Force, Dr. Velez served as the Administrative Director for the International Outreach Program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee. During his tenure at St. Jude, Dr. Velez provided leadership and operational oversight to 23 international partnerships and affiliations worldwide with the mission of providing local support to promote the development of sustainable children cancer programs with curative intent. Dr. Velez also worked in the Pacific North West and the Mid-West as a Regional Director for Healthcare Operations in various health systems with emphasis on rural healthcare, underserved populations with health disparities, and patient access. Dr. Velez is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Fellow of the American Academy of Medical Administrators and a Senior Fellow of the Partnership for Public Service. Dr. Velez graduated from the Community College of the Air Force with an Associate’s Degree in Allied Health Science. He graduated from the Ohio State University and completed an Undergraduate Degree in English. Dr. Velez obtained an MBA in Healthcare Administration from Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, and a Doctor of Health Administration from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Dr. Velez is a Collaborating Scientist at Harvard University participating in front-line research activities. He is currently an adjunct faculty with the Doctor of Health Administration Program at Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio; and an adjunct faculty with the Master’s Degree Program in Health Administration at Central Michigan University. During his free time, Dr. Velez serves as a board member on a local not-for-profit foundation serving children with cancer in Puerto Rico, he volunteers in his local community with underserved populations, and enjoys time with his family in Puerto Rico.
William Acevedo, MD | 787-641-7582 Ext. 32903
Chief Of Staff
Dr. William Acevedo as our new the Chief of Staff (CoS) effective February 28, 2021. Dr. Acevedo has served, as the Deputy CoS, since November 13, 2016. During 2016-2018, Dr. Acevedo also served as the Acting CoS in our health system. Dr. Acevedo is a physiatrist who graduated from the VACHS Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Residency program in 1991. He is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and by the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners. He held the position of Associate Chief of Staff for Rehabilitation at the VA Caribbean HealthCare System for 19 years and has a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration. Among his accomplishments, Dr. Acevedo established the Polytrauma Network System program, Amputation System of Care, Cardiac Rehabilitation Program in which the VACHS received the Certification by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Dr. Acevedo was a key instrument for the VACHS being accredited by the Commission Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation Program, Blind Rehabilitation, Stroke Specialty and Amputation Specialty. In addition, the Integrated Interdisciplinary Pain Rehabilitation Program was the first outpatient VA program in receiving the CARF accreditation nationwide. He developed implemented the prevention of amputation and advanced wound management program Dr. Acevedo has been part of the leadership team leading the Utilization Committee, Strategic Planning, Performance Improvement, Pain Management and Medical Records committees among others. He is an Ad-Honorem Associate Professor at the University of Puerto Rico and was also the VACHS Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Residency Director from 1997 until 2007. Dr. Acevedo is a medical graduate from the Caribbean Central University Medical School of Puerto Rico. He is an active member to the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and served as Chair of the VA Physiatrist Special Interest Group. He is also member of the Puerto Rico Physiatrist Association.
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 | 787-641-7582
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.