Fernando O. Rivera will take over Jan. 11 as director and CEO of Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System.

With an operating budget of nearly $350 million, SLVHCS employs approximately 1,300 people and serves more than 66,466 veterans in the 23 parishes of southeast Louisiana. The health care system provides primary and mental health care at all sites and specialty care at selected sites including eight community-based outpatient clinics in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Slidell, Hammond, Bogalusa, Franklin, Houma and St. John Parish.

Rivera also is responsible for the opening of a $1 billion replacement VA Medical Center in New Orleans.

Immediately prior to his appointment as SLVHCS director/CEO, Rivera was the director/CEO of the VA Capitol Health Care Network (VISN 5) in the national capital region. Prior to that position, he served as director/CEO at the Washington, DC, VA Medical Center, the director/CEO at the Martinsburg, Virginia, Medical Center, and the acting director/CEO at the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport. From 1984 to 2004, he served in various positions at the VA Medical Center in New Orleans, including associate director/COO.

Rivera earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s of business administration degree from the University of New Orleans.