Keeler takes over as new CEO of Grand View Hospi­tal

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Meghan Ross

Grand View Hospi­tal CEO Jean Keeler, who has taken over the role of re­cently re­tired former CEO Stu­art Fine, will go down in the com­pany his­tory books as the first fe­male head of the hospi­tal.

A seven-per­son search com­mit­tee was tasked by the hospi­tal board to con­duct a na­tional search last June. Af­ter re­view­ing nearly a hun­dred can­di­dates, the com­mit­tee got down to three can­di­dates: Keeler and two non-in­ter­nal male can­di­dates.

“It’s nice when some­body gets pro­moted in­ter­nally to any po­si­tion,” Keeler said. “Peo­ple need to know that they have the op­por­tu­nity to move for­ward in their ca­reers in hos­pi­tals. So, I think that was a great mes­sage to send out to the staff.”

Keeler was of­fered the po­si­tion Tues­day night, Dec. 11, and was told the po­si­tion started im­me­di­ately.

“I had no idea,” she said. “I was very sur­prised and very hon­ored and hum­bled to get the job.”

Keeler said some of the per­son­al­ity traits needed for this kind of job in­clude be­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive and a good lis­tener.

“The leader of an or­ga­ni­za­tion has to lis­ten and learn ev­ery day and make some plans to move for­ward

and try to do the right thing by the com­mu­nity and for the com­mu­nity,” she said.

An em­ployee of the hospi­tal for around 16 years, Keeler still re­mem­bers her first day walking into Grand View Hospi­tal.

“I was really im­pressed with the strong women I met. They were wel­com­ing and en­thu­si­as­tic, and I felt really at home when I got here,” she said.

Keeler, a na­tive of Beth­le­hem and an avid po­lice fic­tion reader, has a back­ground in law. Af­ter be­ing one of the first peo­ple in her fam­ily to grad­u­ate from col­lege, she clerked for a judge in Bucks County and for the county’s DA of­fice, then moved on to Grim, Biehn & Thatcher, a law firm in Perkasie.

“I love Bucks County,” Keeler said. “I drove into Bucks County one day, I think it was a beau­ti­ful spring day, and I re­mem­ber say­ing to my hus­band, ‘I really want to prac­tice in this county.’ My hus­band and I just be­came a part of the com­mu­nity.”

Keeler be­came the first fe­male trial lawyer at her law firm and was fol­low­ing in the steps of just a hand­ful of fe­male lawyers who worked in Bucks County.

Keeler said her back­ground in law is in­cred­i­bly valu­able for her job, es­pe­cially be­cause hos­pi­tals are one of the most reg­u­lated in­dus­tries in the coun­try.

“We have so many laws and so many rules and so many leg­is­la­tions,” she said.

In her former po­si­tion as vice pres­i­dent and gen­eral coun­sel for the hospi­tal, Keeler devel­oped the cor­po­rate com­pli­ance plan, es­tab­lished the HIPAA pri­vacy plan and over­saw the risk man­age­ment pro­gram, in ad­di­tion to the le­gal is­sues. She said half of her job re­volved around op­er­a­tional is­sues, while the other half was le­gal is­sues.

“While I had to put things on my re­sumé that I ac­com­plished, they were all team ef­forts,” she said.

Now, one of her new fo­cuses is reach­ing out to pri­mary care doc­tors, who don’t usu­ally com­mu­ni­cate with the lo­cal hos­pi­tals.

“I think we’re head­ing in the di­rec­tion of the lo- cal hospi­tal be­ing re­spon­si­ble for the well­ness in the whole com­mu­nity, which is a really dif­fer­ent fo­cus than what we’ve done be­fore. The fu­ture is go­ing to be about keep­ing peo­ple out of here and really bring­ing the sick­est peo­ple in and hav­ing the right peo­ple take care of them,” she said.

Keeler said she would like a strong fo­cus on the com­mu­nity. The not-for-profit hospi­tal, af­ter all, is the big­gest em­ployer in Bucks County, so many peo­ple have a tie to the hospi­tal. Keeler, who brings her own fam­ily to the hospi­tal, de­scribes the pa­tients as “our neigh­bors, our teach­ers, friends and fam­ily.”

“We have great doc­tors and a fab­u­lous staff,” she said. “We’re really blessed that way. It’s just an ex­cel­lent hospi­tal, and it has a great com­mu­nity as­pect.”

Keeler said it’s “re­mark­able” to be the first fe­male CEO of the hospi­tal. Her pre­de­ces­sor, Stu­art Fine, had served as CEO for 25 years, so there wasn’t a lot of turnover. This is one of the rea­sons why Keeler thinks a fe­male hadn’t al­ready ob­tained the po­si­tion.

“I think it’s odder that I’m a lawyer than the fact that I’m fe­male,” she said.

Mary DeHaven, the hospi­tal’s di­rec­tor of pub­lic re­la­tions and mar­ket­ing, said nurses were glad to see a fe­male CEO since Keeler — a mother, wife and daugh­ter her­self — would know what it’s like to have to make al- ter­nate ar­range­ments if a child is sick and home from school, for ex­am­ple.

“She’s fo­cused on what the is­sue is,” DeHaven said. “And I think that’s the rea­son why peo­ple can kind of for­get, ‘Oh, you’re a fe­male in a male-dom­i­nated world.’”

At her Catholic grade school, Keeler was told, “vou’re smart. vou can be a nurs­ery school teacher.”

“I thought, ‘Okay, well that’s cool. But that’s all I get to pick from?’” Keeler said.

Keeler laughs, think­ing back on the mul­ti­tude of flow­ers that per­fumed her of­fice like a flower shop when she first got the job as CEO of the hospi­tal.

“What do they send the men? I’d rather have flow­ers.”

Jean Keeler has been named the new CEO at Grand View Hospi­tal.

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