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Richard M. Turbin

1948 - 2019
Richard M. Turbin Obituary
TURBIN, Richard M. Richard Martin Turbin, MD, died January 29, 2019, at St. David's Medical Center, in Austin, Texas, after an extended illness. Dr. Turbin was born in Rockville Centre, Long Island, New York, March 14, 1948. When he was in the fifth grade, his family moved from Long Beach, NY, to Surfside, Florida, where he grew up and prepared for his life's work. After graduating from the University of Miami, Richard stayed on campus and graduated from the University's School of Medicine in 1973, now known as the Miller School of Medicine. Richard then left Florida for Texas where he did his internship at Baylor University in Dallas. Richard received board certification from the American Board of Family Medicine. In 1979, he left Dallas for Austin with his then-wife, Joanie Goodman. Richard engaged in private practice in Austin, but became involved with the workings of St. David's hospital, eventually becoming Vice President of Medical Affairs, a position he held for 11 years. After leaving St. David's, Richard joined Blue Cross of Texas as State Medical Director, until 2001, when he accepted a locum tenens position of Hospital Medical Director at a hospital in Bayonne, NJ. It was a fateful choice for Richard. As Bayonne is situated on the Hudson River, directly across from Manhattan, NYC, the hospital had a prime view of the carnage and destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. It was a major trauma for Richard, which plagued his memory and sensibility for the rest of his life. In 2003, Richard joined the Joint Commission, the agency which accredits over 21,000 US health care organizations and programs. As a physician surveyor, Richard traveled around the country inspecting hospitals for their compliance with standards set by the JC, a condition of licensure for receipt of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. The Joint Commission was sardonically referred to occasionally by some as "the hospital police". After retiring from the Joint Commission in 2011, Richard became an independent consultant on hospital accreditation and credentialing of associated physicians. He was known for his speaking ability and was employed by the Greeley Company. He was a gifted extemporaneous speaker. Richard is survived by his wife, Laura Grant Turbin, of Austin, TX, and a sister, Diane Gardner of Rockwall, TX. He was preceded in death by his mother, Sarah Glatt Turbin, and father, Irvin Turbin, of Surfside, Florida. Richard dedicated his life to the betterment of medical care for hospital patients. He was known for his dogged determination to keep hospitals on their best behaviors. Perhaps he was best known by friends, family, and colleagues for his humor. It was a gentle humor, only done with self-effacement and pun-ish effect. He kept his wife, Laura, laughing throughout their long relationship. As he said, "she was my best audience." Richard had dreamed of being a professional comedian but fate and father intervened on the side of medicine. Richard and Laura were deeply devoted to each other. A memorial service will be held for Dr. Turbin on January 11, 2020, at Harrell Funeral Home, 4435 Frontier Trail, Austin, TX, 78745, at 2:00 pm.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on Jan. 7, 2020
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