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Emery Care and Rehab tries again with new administrator

John Alexander Stephenson is the new administrator at the care center.

Guest Writer

On Nov. 12, John Alexander Stephenson, IV accepted the position as administrator at Emery County Care and Rehabilitation. Better known as Alec, he will be filling the position previously held by Caleen Wilcox.

Stephenson said he is excited to be working in Emery County and at the Emery County Care and Rehabilitation Center. They (meaning he and the staff) are very excited about all the things going on there. Stephenson said, "The focus of this facility is taking care of the residents. There should be an article written about how great the Certified Nursing Assistants are. The article could detail some of the many tasks the CNAs perform for the residents to make them comfortable. Our focus is not to make money, our job is to see this care facility is run efficiently. The more residents we have the more efficient we can be."

Director of Nursing Kamie Conover said, "I am very excited to be working with Alec." This same sentiment was echoed by other staff members. They are looking forward to stability and continuity of management.

The new construction is a major overhaul, not just cosmetic changes. When the construction is finished it will make the facility even more attractive to potential residents. The exterior will look like an upscale hotel. The ECCR is licensed for 55 residents, at the present time the center has 37 residents. On the day construction is completed the ECCR will have beds for 51 residents.

The new electrical, plumbing and the new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, big units that go up on the roof means they will not have to worry about heat in winter and cooling in the summer. Director of Nursing Conover said, "It is sometimes difficult to control the heating and cooling with the present system."

This new construction will bring the building in compliance with new State and Federal regulations about circulating, filtering and humidifying the air, thus improving the quality of the air within the building. These are modern standards to help with infection control. The Emery County Care and Rehabilitation center will be the most up to date nursing facility in Utah. The new construction will provide more space, amenities and comfort for the residents.

Stephenson comes to ECCR with more than 35 years experience in the healthcare industry. He attended the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill where he majored in zoology, earning a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1975. Stephenson entered the physicians' assistant program in Charleston, S. C. earning a Masters of Health Science degree in 1977. At the time, at 25 years old, he was the youngest physicians' assistant ever to earn this degree.

Stephenson practiced as a primary care physicians' assistant in centers in Atlanta, Ga., ultimately earning his specialization in psychiatry from the North Carolina Mental Health consortium, primarily at Broughton Hospital in Morganton, N. C.

In 1985, Stephenson entered Utah State University where he obtained his Masters of Business Administration degree in 1988. For the next six years, he worked in marketing and sales, first for Merck, Sharpe and Dohme as a territory manager and then for National Orthotics Laboratories as the national sales manager.

Returning to South Carolina, he completed his Administrator-in-Training requirements in 1995, earning dual licensure as both a Nursing Home Administrator and an Assisted Living Administrator. He worked for the Magnolia Group in Spartanburg, South Carolina from August 1995 through December, 2005.

In his last assignment there, he worked as Executive Director of Magnolia Place for seven years, as well as overseeing the Central Billing Office, Hospice and a staffing agency for the Magnolia Group.

Stephenson is a very hands-on Administrator and will frequently be seen on the floor assisting CNAs in providing patient care. He believes in the ultimate value of team-work and cooperation between all departments in fulfilling the needs of all residents. He sees the care facility as a microcosm where residents, staff, families and the community work together to create a warm, inviting atmosphere for anyone that enters the facility. He is a firm believer in the power of communication, and operates with an open-door policy. He puts nursing as the pre-eminent function in the facility, but recognizes the need for a solid fiscal foundation. He looks forward to working with the ECCR Board of Directors in accomplishing this goal.

He and his wife Colby were married in the Manti Temple in August of 1974. They have five children and seven grandchildren. They relocated to Salt Lake City in 2006 to be closer to four of their children and their families, but will be relocating to Emery County in December or January.

Stephenson loves music, plays the piano and organ, and has sung with many different organizations through the years. He is also fluent in American Sign Language. The Stephensons both enjoy the out-of-doors and heartily look forward to exploring all the great features of Emery County. He finished the interview by saying, "This is a wonderful industry to be working in."

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