Biz Buzz: A.G. hospital CEO headed to Oregon

Rick Castro
Rick Castro

Rick Castro, who has led Arroyo Grande Community Hospital for the past seven years, has accepted a job as chief operations officer for McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center near Eugene, Ore.

He will remain president and CEO of Arroyo Grande Community Hospital through Sunday, according to a news release. A successor has not been announced; until then, the hospital’s management team, medical staff and community and foundation boards will handle oversight of the nonprofit medical center owned by Catholic Healthcare West.

Castro, 51, began his health care career in 1984 as a clinical lab scientist in the laboratory at French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and soon after at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital. He also has been director of the consolidated labs at both hospitals and as assistant administrator for Arroyo Grande.

Castro started as interim president of the hospital in June 2004, when Catholic Healthcare West acquired it from Universal Health Services. He was named president and CEO a few months later.

During his time, the hospital opened a Coastal Cancer Care and Diagnostic Center in 2008 that combined medical oncology, outpatient surgery and diagnostic technology into one site. Last year, the program earned full accreditation and an Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.

That same year, Coastal Surgical Institute, an outpatient surgical center operating for four years in San Luis Obispo County, entered into a partnership as the outpatient surgical facility for the hospital’s Coastal Cancer Care Center.

Castro has also overseen development of a $3 million Acute Rehabilitation Center, the only one of its type between Salinas and Santa Barbara. The hospital is adding 5,700 square feet and converting the approximately 2,000 existing square feet of what was once its Transitional Care Unit, which closed in 2009.

“It has been a difficult decision to leave the beautiful Central Coast of California and the people with whom I have immensely enjoyed working with at both Arroyo Grande and French Hospital Medical Center for the past 28 years, but this move to Eugene will be a perfect fit for both career and family,” Castro said in a statement.

Established in 1961, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital is a 67-bed facility that employs about 400 people.

— Cynthia Lambert