Ken Keller

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital President and CEO Ken Keller.

There’s a new man leading the charge at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital.

Ken Keller was named the new president and chief executive officer Dec. 19, 2018.

Keller has served as the vice president/chief operating officer for the hospital since 2015. He began his relationship with Memorial Hospital in 2003 as vice president of physician and business development. He held that role for five years before being recruited by Providence Health and Services of Southern California to lead their physician group in Los Angeles. Keller then served as vice president for the Advisory Board Company, where he successfully led numerous organizations across the country into today’s “accountable care era.”

Keller is confident his wide range of experience on many sides of the health care industry has prepared him well for this new role.

“I tell people that I’m trilingual. I’ve been in the health care space for about 30 years. During that time, I’ve garnered experience on the payer side, the physician side and the hospital side,” said Keller. “It gives me the ability to understand the needs and concerns of all parties and when we work in collaboration, it ultimately leads to better patient care.”

During his tenure at Memorial Hospital, Keller has been instrumental in many projects, most notably the completion of the Robert A. Grimm Children’s Pavilion for Emergency Services, the launch of the new neuro critical care unit and establishing a dedicated, permanent unit for the Grossman Burn Center. Behind the scenes, he supervised the conversion to a new electronic medical record system and oversaw an $11 million facelift for the hospital.

So what does the future hold?

Keller says his aim is to provide the best patient experience possible. Memorial Hospital will continue to partner with skilled physicians to deliver specialized treatment tailored to patient needs. Keller says he plans to focus on strategies to extend current services and expand into new service lines that are not currently offered.

“I want to make sure we are aggressively focused on patient quality, patient experience and patient safety,” said Keller. “We want to continue to improve and elevate our game.”

That includes continuing Memorial Hospital’s strong community partnership and delivering on the Hello Humankindness brand.

“We are the community hospital. We owe it to the community to make sure we are going to be here as an institution, resource and partner in the coming years,” said Keller.

Keller succeeds former President and CEO Jon Van Boening, who has accepted a position as president and senior vice president for Dignity Health’s Central California Service Area. Keller said he looks forward to building upon the legacy Van Boening leaves behind.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am honored to be chosen, but at the end of the day it’s really not about me. It’s about the 1,700 team members that we have, who focus every day on ensuring that patients have a quality health care experience at Memorial Hospital,” said Keller. “I want to continue to facilitate their efforts on a daily basis.”

Leslie Carroll is a writer for Dignity Health Mercy and Memorial Hospitals.

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