For weeks, El Paso Politics has been reviewing pages of open records from the University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC). Many of the text messages and emails are communications sent or received by UMC President and Chief Executive Officer, Jacob Cintron. Many of the communications we have seen recently are addressed to Cindy Stout, CEO of El Paso Children’s Hospital. As readers may be aware, the children’s hospital is owned by UMC, although it argues that it is an independent non-profit organization. As we have read the communications, we have noted unprofessional communications that would likely to have consequences for UMC employees if they made the same statements on UMC-owned communication platforms or devices, or with other UMC employees or business partners. In the case of Cintron, only the UMC Board of Managers has oversight over him. All other UMC employees are accountable to their supervisors who eventually report to Jacob Cintron, according to UMC’s corporate structure.
It is important to note that the reason we have these communications from Jacob Cintron is because they are subject to the Texas Public Information Act. They are subject to it because they are official communications from the CEO of a taxpayer-funded hospital.
To understand whether the type of communications we have seen in the open records would cause a UMC employee to be reprimanded, we consulted the Code of Conduct for UMC that each employee receives. The version we consulted is dated August 13, 2020.
In the CEO letter in the employee manual, Jacob Cintron wrote that UMC’s values “include exceptional Customer service, Accountability, Respect,” and the values “are the foundation of our Code of Conduct.” In the letter, Cintron wrote that the Code of Conduct defines the members of UMC and that “integrity has been defined as doing the right thing when no one is watching.”  It is unclear if those who have seen the communications sent by Jacob Cintron ever asked themselves if anyone other than the recipients would see them, or were they uttered “when no one is watching.” Cintron added in his opening letter that UMC employees should “always treating everyone with respect.” 
The Code of Conduct manual states that it applies to all the organizations associated with UMC and to everyone to include the Board of Managers, contract personnel, students, volunteers, medical staff and “everyone that has a business relationship” with UMC. Whether one believes that the El Paso Children’s Hospital is a separate entity, or not, it nonetheless does business with UMC, subjecting its CEO, Cindy Stout to the UMC Code of Conduct. The conduct manual emphasizes “treat everyone with dignity and compassion.” 
Under the section on ethical decision making, we were struck with the admonition that the decision-making process includes the question, “would I be comfortable if it were made public?” 
In addition, the Board of Managers, who have authority over Jacob Cintron are made to sign a pledge agreeing to be governed by the code of conduct.
Communications Betray Unprofessional Conduct
As readers may remember we reported earlier this month on two instances of Jacob Cintron sending inappropriate communications. In one text message on July 12, 2020, Jacob Cintron discussed the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s mascot in inappropriate sexually explicit language. He apologized for his language after we reported the incident.
In another text message on April 23, 2018, Jacob Cintron wrote to Cindy Stout that they could use the “inexperience” of Nick Tejeda to grow the children’s hospital. Tejeda had recently been appointed the CEO of the Providence hospitals. At best, the two communications between the two executives are inappropriate and disrespectful and at worse they are clear violations of the UMC Code of Conduct that everyone with any connection to UMC are expected to follow.
Unfortunately, those are not the only communications we have noted that Jacob Cintron has made that seem to violate UMC’s code of conduct. The types of communications between Cindy Stout and Jacob Cintron range from sexual innuendo like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce mascot to discussing what El Paso official or businessman is “pushing” board member nominees. In a text message exchange on May 13, 2019, Cindy Stout and Jacob Cintron were discussing board member nominees. Stout, for example, asked Cintron which board member nominee is linked to a well-known El Pasoan. In one example, Stout wrote, “Jack Chapman – from Ted,” and “Joe Cardenas – from ?”. Cintron responded that “I don’t want Jack Chapman.” To which Stout responded that “I worry that Jack is being pushed by Ted.” At this point, Cintron responds that “Jack is not a good choice. Works for Rick Francis, who sits on Tenet Board.”
But discussing board members is not the only inappropriate messages between Cindy Stout and Jacob Cintron. Sexual innuendo, as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce exampled showed, was part of their communications. For example, on May 10, 2019, Jacob Cintron wrote to Cindy Stout “Large buns!!” in reference to a meal he was having, to which Stout replied, “My buns are single burger size now!”
Sexual innuendo and political pressure on governing board nominees are not the only inappropriate conversations between the two. They ascribe inappropriate and disrespectful nicknames to professionals. In one instance, on November 29, 2018, Cintron refers to a female executive at another hospital as a “cucaracha,” a roach in English. Another individual is called “Chunkles” in a February 20, 2019 text exchange between the two. Other individuals are called “Del Shrimp” and “Mr Short Stuff” by Cindy Stout to Cintron in a text message on August 3, 2019.
In another text message, this one on March 4, 2019, Cindy Stout asks Cintron “did you find out where you can get marijuana?” Stout also asked Cintron “did you find your squeeze?” in the same text exchange.
Disrespectful Comments About Death
In an egregious text exchange between Cintron and Stout on July 20, 2018, the two were discussing the death of man near Providence hospital campus. On July 19, 2018, a man died after falling off the fifth floor in a building near the Providence Memorial Campus according to news reports.
Cindy Stout shared the El Paso Times report link to Jacob Cintron. Cintron replied, “What super hero is he?” To which, Stout replied, “One that needed the SWAT team.”
The communications we are reporting are a sampling of the open records documents we have reviewed so far. There are other communications that we will be reporting on later and there are other documents we have yet to review. However, we are left to wonder if the communications we are reporting involved subordinate UMC employees and were made public, would they lead to punitive actions against the employees for their apparent violations of the UMC code of conduct? Thus, the question is, is CEO Jacob Cintron subject to the same code of conduct that he holds those below him responsible to? Is CEO Cindy Stout, who leads an organization that does substantial business with UMC, also subject to the same standards that the UMC code of conduct requires of all, including the Board of Managers?
- El Paso County Hospital District, Code of Conduct Manual, August 13, 2020.