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Riverland chief to retire soon

VIDALIA — Riverland Medical Center in Ferriday will be losing their administrator of nearly 25 years, as Vernon Stevens announced his retirement last week.

The 62-year-old Stevens, who has been with the hospital for 29 years, 23 of those as administrator, said he enjoyed his days at Riverland, but thought it was time to move on to something less stressful.

“It’s hard to walk away after you have been doing it for so long,” he said. “The older you get, the harder the job gets, and it’s time for me to go.”

The stress from the job is what Stevens said made it too much for him to continue at the facility.

“I’ve been here almost 30 years, and it gets harder and harder to work every year,” he said. “With the new pressures from the health care system, it’s a good time to go.”

Stevens said he would stay at the hospital until his replacement is hired.

“I want this to be a smooth transition and decision for the hospital, and I will be here until they find someone,” he said. “I’m not certain on what I am going to do when I leave, but I have a lot of options, and something less stressful is what I want.”

Stevens said he was proud to be a part of the many projects completed while he was administrator.

“We added on an ICU, we expanded the ER department and we expanded the labor and delivery wing at the hospital,” Stevens said. “We even transferred over to electronic medical records.”

Stevens also said keeping the hospital’s equipment up to date was something he was glad he did while administrator.

“We tried our best to use available funds to replace and keep our medical equipment up to date,” Stevens said. “To do that in a rural hospital on a low budget is a hard task.”

Riverland Medical Center hospital board member Fred Butcher said Stevens has done a great job with his time at the hospital.

“He is going to be missed,” Butcher said. “He did a good job working both the medical and financial sides of Riverland.”

The new administrator is going to have a tough time trying to replace Stevens, Butcher said.

“The new hire is going to have to learn both aspects of the industry,” he said. “It’s critical that they be good at both.”

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