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New University Medical Center board member starts term Tuesday

The University Medical Center board room had a new face at Tuesday’s special board meeting.

One of the two new UMC board members, Joy Martinez, was sworn in before the meeting. County commissioners unanimously approved her appointment on Monday.

The meeting updated the board on the status of the due diligence phase with El Paso Children’s Hospital. As ABC-7 has been reporting since last month, Children’s has agreed to pay back just over $49 million to the county hospital.

Martinez was Commissioner Carlos Leon’s nominee for the role. She works for Nazareth Living Care Center and says she will be diving into things as quickly as possible. She told ABC-7 it meant a lot to her to have the commissioner who nominated her be present on Tuesday for a couple of her major milestones.

“We all know what’s at stake and so to be able to have that piece of mind and confidence in me really means a lot,” Martinez said. “Earlier, Jim (Valenti) did point out the fact that for the first time in the 17 years he’s been here that the commissioner who appointed the board of manager was present during the swearing in.”

Martinez and Commissioner Vince Perez’s appointee, Miguel Fernandez, have a lot of work ahead of them as UMC and Children’s carry out their debt agreement. Perez said Fernandez wasn’t present Monday at Commissioners Court or at Tuesday’s special board meeting because he’s out of town.

The new board members join five others that initially serve two-year terms, but may be reappointed.

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