Former Seton Highland Lakes official re-takes helm; healthcare projects on horizon

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

BURNET — With a list of local projects in the queue, the new Seton Highland Lakes Chief Operating Officer Scott Fuller will serve a dual leadership role at two of the system’s healthcare facilities.

Fuller spent the past four years as the chief operating officer at Seton Northwest in Austin, but, before that, he served the Burnet hospital in the same capacity. Arie Dejong resigned in October to take a job at a California hospital.

Seton officials recently asked Fuller to come back to Burnet and divide his attention between that facility and the one in Austin.

“The community has been very supportive of me coming back,” he said. “I’m hopeful that my relationships with the community will play a large factor.”

Fuller is scheduled to spend Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Friday at the Burnet hospital, 3201 U.S. 281, and work at the Austin hospital on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other Friday.

Seton Highland Lakes nursing operations director Denise Watson will handle day-to-day operations when Fuller is not on site.

One of the upcoming projects Fuller and Watson will oversee is the grand opening of a new primary care clinic in Kingsland.

The Seton Kingsland Healthcare Center is a 6,000-square-foot facility with a staff that includes a physician, a nurse, several medical assistants and healthcare workers from the Seton Heart Institute.

“The clinic actually burned to the ground. We were only able to salvage the foundation, but it’s back from the ashes,” Watson said. “We look forward to opening that for the community.”

Fire officials blamed arson on a blaze in June 2012 that destroyed the under-construction Kingsland facility.

An open house is planned from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 12 at the facility, located at Ridgeview and Nob Hill streets in Kingsland. Features include primary care, imaging, lab and cardiology services.

Another project under way involves the installation of a $2.6 million magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system, launched about a week ago, in a newly refurbished 2,400-square-foot suite at the Burnet hospital.

“The one we were using previously was a portable unit we were using inside of a semi-trailer,” Fuller said. “It’s very rare that a hospital this size has a dedicated magnetic resonance imaging machine.”

MRI services are scheduled to be available the third week in December.

Other changes on the horizon involve the relocation of the physical therapy program to the community’s YMCA of the Highland Lakes at Galloway-Hammond, 1601 U.S. 281 in Burnet. The city-owned recreation center — operated by the Williamson County arm of the YMCA — has recently undergone thousands of dollars in renovations and includes an Olympic-size pool, a wading pool and state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

connie@thepicayune.com