Huntsville Memorial Hospital New Board Leads Future Path

Huntsville, Texas (October 28, 2020) – Huntsville Memorial Hospital’s new Board is taking the hospital to a level of renewed strength and united vision.

Ray Hernandez, Board Chair, shared, “Through a clear vision and aligned governance, Huntsville Memorial Hospital will be the facility of choice for residents of Walker County and the surrounding area. The Board is capable and committed to make well-informed decisions to strengthen the hospital and work alongside Community Hospital Corporation for continuous financial, operational and clinical improvements.”

Hernandez added, “We are committed to put our talents to work to uphold: Your health. Our community. Our commitment.” The eight-member Board, including Hernandez, began its governance in June 2020 (See Board member list below).

Core to a strong future is the alignment between HMH, the Walker County Hospital District and Community Hospital Corporation (CHC). Formed in February 2020 just prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this partnership provides HMH the expertise and support during this unprecedented time and going forward. Through CHC, HMH has access to best practices and resources in critical areas such as clinical programs, the revenue cycle and especially the supply chain – bringing needed personal protective equipment or PPE, efficiencies, cost reductions and support.

“I am thankful for our relationship with CHC and the Walker County Hospital District, and for the individuals who have volunteered to serve as Board members to guide our future,” said Steven Smith, HMH Chief Executive Officer.

In proud service, the Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors includes:

Ray Hernandez, Chair, Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors

Ray Hernandez is president and CEO of the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce. He graduated with Honors from Southwest Texas State University, received Economic Development training from Texas A&M University-College Station, and graduated with Honors (Innovation 88) from the University of Texas-Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs. Hernandez served in the U.S. Army, as a Board Regent for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Organizational Management program, a Vice President of Communications for the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives, and as a Board Member for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Center for Community Engagement at Sam Houston State University.

Timothy Deahl, M.D., Vice Chair, Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors

Timothy Deahl, M.D., has served the Walker County community since 1992 when he opened his medical practice. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Texas and his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, finishing in 1988. He then completed his residency at St. Joseph's Hospital in Houston, Texas. He has served the local community for many years. This year, Huntsville Memorial Hospital named Dr. Deahl Physician of the Year.

Steven Smith, FACHE, CEO/Secretary, Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors

Steven Smith is Chief Executive Officer for Huntsville Memorial Hospital. He has 40 years of experience in medical center executive leadership. Smith attended the University of Alabama where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He then received his Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from Trinity University. Smith is a Board Certified Fellow (FACHE) designated by the American College of Healthcare Executives. He also served three years as Board Chair for the Texas Rural Accountable Care Organization (TRACO). Prior, Smith served as CEO for Matagorda Regional Medical Center, Sugar Land Surgical Hospital, and Kingwood Specialty Hospital. He also served as the Hospital President and System Chief Operating Officer of Coffee Health Group, and President and CEO of Memorial Medical Center.

Sujesh Pillai, M.D., Chief of Staff/Director, Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors

Sujesh Pillai, M.D., is Chief of Staff at Huntsville Memorial Hospital. Dr. Pillai was born in India and raised in Houston, Texas. He completed his undergraduate studies at Lamar University. He then attended medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies. Dr. Pillai completed his medical training in Internal Medicine at Louisiana State University. He has since served Huntsville and Walker County at Huntsville Memorial Hospital for the past 11 years.

Joe Sapp, Walker County Hospital District Director, Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors

Joe Sapp is a director of the Walker County Hospital District (WCHD) Board of Managers and serves as the WCHD representative on the Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. Born and raised in Conroe, Texas, Sapp received his undergraduate degree in Pharmacy from the University of Texas. He completed his residency in Hospital Pharmacy at Harris Hospital. Sapp holds 49 years of experience in the field. He worked 13 years in retail pharmacy before serving 23 years as the Director of Pharmacy at Huntsville Memorial Hospital. He also spent 12 years with UTMB Correctional Managed Care Pharmacy. Sapp is a graduate of the Huntsville Leadership Institute. He also served as a past board member of the City of Huntsville Board of Adjustments and Appeals, and on the board of the local chapter of the American Heart Association.

Joe Thomason, Community Hospital Corporation Director, Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors

Joe Thomason is Community Hospital Corporation’s (CHC) representative on the Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. Thomason is Senior Vice President of Hospital Operations for CHC. He Received a Bachelor of Business degree from West Texas State University. He then obtained a Master of Business Administration and Health Organization Management degree from Texas Tech University. Thomason has 30 years of experience in hospital operations and administration. He has served as a Chief Operating Officer for a Tenet Hospital in El Paso, Texas, Chief Executive Officer for Centennial Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and Chief Executive Officer of RHD Memorial Medical Center in Dallas, and Brownsville Medical Center in Brownsville, Texas.

Judy Upshaw, Community Director, Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors

Judy Upshaw serves as a Community Director on the Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. Upshaw received her Associate Degree in Nursing from Tyler Junior College. She then obtained both her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science Degrees in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. A registered nurse for the past 24 years, Upshaw has been Clinical Assistant Professor at Sam Houston State University School of Nursing since 2013. She 110 Memorial Hospital Drive, Huntsville, TX 77340 • currently serves as a committee member for the School of Nursing and the College of Health Sciences. Upshaw was hired by Huntsville Memorial Hospital as Director of the Correctional Care Unit when it opened in 2011. She also formerly served as a Board Member for the SAAFE House.

Trey Wharton, Community Director, Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors

Trey Wharton serves as a Community Director on the Huntsville Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. Raised in Huntsville, Texas, he has owned his own independent insurance agency since 1991. Wharton also serves as an Investment Advisor Representative. He attended Texas Christian University where he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration. Wharton holds multiple licenses, including a Series 65 License, a Series 63 License, a Series 6 License, and a Life, Health, Property, and Casualty Insurance License. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for Huntsville Independent School District, and on the Board of Directors for the Huntsville Walker County Chamber of Commerce.

About Huntsville Memorial Hospital

Huntsville Memorial Hospital, Huntsville, Texas, is a 123-bed, Joint Commission‐accredited, not‐ for‐profit acute care community hospital. HMH delivers quality healthcare services to the residents of Walker County and its surrounding communities, a population of more than 72,000. HMH and its dedicated staff offer compassionate care and the latest technologies and treatment solutions. HMH holds Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center designation. HMH keeps community health and wellness at the forefront of its mission. Please visit us at

About Community Hospital Corporation – HELP WHERE HOSPITALS NEED IT®

Community Hospital Corporation owns, manages and consults with hospitals through three distinct organizations – CHC Hospitals, CHC Consulting and CHC ContinueCARE, which share a common purpose to guide, support and enhance the mission of community hospitals and healthcare providers. Based in Plano, Texas, CHC provides the resources and experience community hospitals need to improve quality outcomes, patient satisfaction and financial performance. For more information about CHC, please visit