First published in the Aug. 20 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Following a nationwide search for new leadership, veteran health care executive Karl Keeler took the helm Monday, Aug. 15, as chief executive of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center and its Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center.
Keeler most recently served as president of MercyOne, an Iowa-based joint operation of two major health organizations that owned and managed 43 hospitals with a total of 20,000 employees.
“Throughout the chief executive selection process, Karl’s demonstrated experience in hospital operations, growth and strategy” [were important considerations], said Kevin Manemann, chief executive, Providence South Division. “Equally important are Karl’s strong communication skills, dedication to building trust through transparency and his personal alignment with our mission.”
In leading MercyOne’s regional response to the pandemic, Keeler was noted for innovative initiatives to improve COVID-19 testing, to manage the influx of patients, to utilize virtual care to help manage resources and improve patient outcomes and to develop staffing models to retain employees.
He said he is excited to join the Burbank hospital and parent organization, Providence.
“Providence Saint Joseph has a reputation for quality and for living its mission and values,” Keeler said. “I hope to engage as many people as possible in my first weeks to get to know the hospital, the culture and, most importantly, to listen to caregivers. The health care industry is facing some tough post-pandemic challenges and I want to hear ideas from everyone, especially our front-line teams.”
Keeler’s strengths lie in strategic planning, building a workplace culture, improving operational performance, leading population health initiatives to identify a community’s health, recruiting physicians and identifying growth opportunities, Manemann said.
Keeler began his health care career as an emergency medical technician in an after-hours clinic in Utah, and over the years honed his executive skills at health organizations in several states including Colorado, Missouri and Oregon. “I wanted to be a doctor but wanted to experience what it was like on the hospital side of health care first,” he said.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion from Brigham Young University and his master’s in Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan.
Keeler and his wife, Kristen, a former nurse, have five children, ranging in age from 10 to 22. The family enjoys outdoor sports including skiing, golfing, hiking and tennis.