Be Well OC Announces Desiree Thomas as New Chief Operating Officer
Irvine, CA. (January 9, 2024) – Be Well OC today announced that Desiree Thomas, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, has joined the organization as Chief Operating Officer. She has more than two decades of healthcare leadership experience spanning several prominent organizations across Southern California.
“Be Well OC is at the forefront with the County of Orange in providing critical mental health and wellness care to our community, and Desiree will play an important role as the executive bridging the teams and operations across our organization including the campus and mobile programs with our partners,” said Phillip Franks, Chief Executive Officer, Be Well OC. “Desiree’s wide-ranging experience in providing operational, financial and strategic oversight for teams in some of the most complex frontline healthcare units will offer the team steady and capable leadership through a period of growth for the organization.”
Thomas most recently served as the Executive Director of Emergency Department, Critical Care and Behavioral Health Services for Providence St. Joseph Hospital Orange, where she had oversight for more than 550 full time employees and 141 beds, including 53 ED beds with 90,000 annual patient visits. Her responsibilities included not only fiscal management and programmatic growth for her units but also developing and maintaining physician alignment for local and regional initiatives such as clinical performance improvement and contract management.
After beginning her nursing career as a critical care nurse at LAC+USC Medical Center, Thomas spent 14 years rising through the nursing ranks at MemorialCare Health System. During her tenure, she served in several key roles including Director of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery Services as well as System Director of COVID-19 Surge Planning in the initial months of the 2020 pandemic. She was also tapped to lead as Interim Vice President of Critical Care Services at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for one year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thomas holds a Master of Science degree in Nursing from Mount St. Mary’s University, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Biola University, and will complete the Executive Master of Business Administration program at University of California Irvine in June 2024. She has received several nursing and leadership accolades during her career is a member of several industry organizations including the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), and Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL).
“After long admiring the work of Be Well OC as one of its hospital partners — and someone whose patients have benefited from the life-changing care provided — I am excited to be joining the team in this newly created role of Chief Operating Officer,” Thomas said. “I look forward to working alongside Phil and the team in collaboration with the County of Orange, Orange County Health Care Agency, CalOptima Health, our hospital partners, and our campus service providers to continue to transform lives and impact the health and wellness of our community.”