First Choice Emergency Room Announces Appointment of New CEO

April 16, 2012

Additional Executive Leadership Support Coming with Three Seasoned Board Member Appointments

Plano, TX – April 16, 2012 – First Choice Emergency Room (“First Choice”), the largest freestanding emergency room network in Texas and a leading company in its industry, today announced the appointment of Thomas Hall as chief executive officer. First Choice’s founder, Rick Covert, will continue to be active in day-to-day operations and will remain on the Company’s board of directors. Additionally, Stephen Farber, Ron Taylor and Jeff Vender have been appointed as new First Choice board members.

Mr. Covert co-founded First Choice in 2002 in Flower Mound, Texas. Under his leadership the company has grown to 13 locations throughout the state and has emerged as one of the best operators in the marketplace.

Mr. Hall joins First Choice from NovaMed, Inc. where he had served as chairman, president and chief executive officer since 2005. During his tenure at NovaMed, Mr. Hall tripled EBITDA and transformed the company from a single specialty surgery center operator into a multi-specialty surgery center operator.

“After an extensive search to find my successor with valuable guidance from Sterling Partners, we feel confident that Tom is the right step forward for First Choice,” said Mr. Covert.  “He has experience in scaling a business in a multi-unit healthcare construct across multiple states while preserving company culture. On behalf of everyone at First Choice, we are thrilled to have Tom on board.”

“First Choice has a legacy of providing patients with an efficient alternative to conventional hospital-based emergency services while delivering the highest standard of care with superior customer service,” said Mr. Hall.  “I am excited for the opportunity to work with Rick and other incredibly talented entrepreneurs serving on our board to ensure that our customers will receive the high quality of service they deserve from First Choice.”

Among the new leadership is Stephen Farber, joining First Choice’s board of directors as audit chair.  He is currently the chairman of the board for Connance, Inc., a healthcare solutions provider that he co-founded in 2007. Also appointed to the board are Ron Taylor, co-founder, retired chief executive officer and current senior advisor and board director for DeVry Inc. and Jeff Vender, renowned healthcare industry consultant, vice president for Physician and Programmatic Development and chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at a prestigious Chicago health system.

“Sterling has worked very closely with existing management to identify Tom Hall; he is the ideal candidate to lead the company to its next generation of growth,” said Danny Rosenberg, managing director at Sterling Partners, the Chicago-based private equity firm that made its initial investment in First Choice in September 2011.  “Tom is well-positioned to lead with guidance from Rick, Stephen, Ron and Jeff, each who bring a wealth of talent and operational expertise to First Choice and its board.”


About First Choice Emergency Room

First Choice Emergency Room is revolutionizing the delivery of emergency medical services for adult and pediatric emergencies, both major and minor. First Choice Emergency Room facilities are innovative, freestanding, fully equipped emergency rooms. All physicians are board-certified emergency physicians, and all FCER nurses are emergency trained. With eight locations in the Houston area, four in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and one in the Austin area, patients receive high-quality treatment without delay as commonly experienced in hospital ERs.

For more information, locations and hours, visit or call toll-free 866-99-FIRST (34778).


About Sterling Partners

Sterling Partners is a private equity firm with a distinct point of view on how to build great companies. Founded in 1983, Sterling has invested billions of dollars, guided by the company’s stated purpose: INSPIRED GROWTH™, which describes Sterling’s approach to buying differentiated businesses and growing them in inspired ways. Sterling focuses on investing growth capital in small and mid-market companies in industries with positive, long-term trends – education, healthcare, and business services.  Sterling provides valuable support to the management teams of the companies in which the firm invests through a deep and dedicated team of operations and functional experts based in the firm’s offices in Chicago, Baltimore, and Miami.

The people at Sterling believe in ideas and ideals, in people and partnerships that drive long-term success. For more information please visit