Paul Fry has been a familiar presence for seven years at Lompoc Valley Medical Center, aiding patients in the Emergency Department as a Certified Physician Assistant.
Now he’s is taking on a new role: Director of Ambulatory Services, where he’s working as a liaison between the clinicians at LVMC Physician Services and the hospital administration.
“I will be working as a business manager who understands patient care,” Paul explains. “Having the perspective of the provider, the perspective of the patient and the perspective of the administrator, all three together, we’ll be able to make decisions that make sense to everyone.”
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Paul spent four years in Japan, working in obstetrics and emergency medicine as a military EMT. Once leaving the military, Paul planned to leave medicine behind to pursue pastoral ministry.
But he was one class away from being ordained, and he felt he could not continue. “It was like God was saying, ‘you chose to be a pastor, but if you are willing, I would have you minister to people through medicine,’” he recalls.
He continued working as an EMT in Spokane, Wa. and went on to become a Paramedic. Then at the age of 27, the Walla Walla native moved with his wife and children to Buffalo, New York, so he could attend Physician Assistant School at D’Youville College. He earned a B.S. in Physician Assisting in 2000.
After college, Paul worked in primary care for six years, before returning to emergency department work. He soon began working for a national healthcare management firm, responsible for Emergency Departments throughout the West Coast. He was eager, he said, to be included in the management decision making.
After five years, he was faced with having to make a move when the firm with which he was working lost its local contract. He said he could have continued with the company elsewhere, working in management and consulting.
But he wanted to stay in Lompoc, he said. He joined the staff at LVMC: Physician Services, and is now pursuing his Healthcare MBA through George Washington University.
“With all of my experience, I’ve never seen the kind of respect among the providers that I see here,” he said. “We have professional staff. When we call specialists here (for consultation), they’re respectful, it’s pleasant. There is an authentic dedication to meeting patient’s needs … There’s not another place that I’ve worked at that does it as well as Lompoc does. Lompoc doctors are really, really special. There is a level of collegiality here that is unmatched anywhere else that I’ve worked. So that’s what’s kept me here.”