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Mercy-Des Moines names new president


Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines has selected a health executive who has led hospitals through extensive physical and program changes — including recovery from a major flood — as its next president. 

Karl Keeler, currently president of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Nampa, Idaho, was named Mercy president following a national search. He succeeds Bob Ritz, who in July was selected as the new president and CEO of Mercy Health Network. 

Keeler brings 24 years of experience in health care leadership and a long list of accomplishments to Central Iowa, Mercy said in a release. During the last seven years at Saint Alphonsus, Keeler improved the organization’s overall performance while also building a $180 million replacement facility and completing the first phase of a master facility plan. 

Before his time at Saint Alphonsus, he held several leadership roles at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, most recently chief operating officer, where he realigned the hospital’s clinical operations resulting in an improved focus on patient safety, quality and financial results. He also managed the hospital through a major flood disaster, cleanup and recovery, and oversaw numerous expansion and clinical operations projects. 

“I am very pleased to have the opportunity to join the Mercy-Des Moines team,” Keeler said. “Mercy is a world-class organization with a great vision for the future, strong values and a deep commitment to creating the best possible patient experience. It is rooted in strong tradition, focused on the healing ministry of the Sisters of Mercy, and committed to ongoing innovation to improve the health of the communities it serves.” 

Keeler said he’s excited to return to Iowa. “Returning to the state feels a bit like coming home, and Des Moines is a thriving, growing market with so much opportunity,” he said. “I look forward to working with Mercy’s outstanding physicians and staff to continue to advance the organization’s success.”

Ritz cited Keeler’s leadership experience, personal values and a culture of excellence as aligning perfectly with Mercy. “Karl has a deep commitment to quality and service and has demonstrated the ability to continually improve care in a constantly changing environment,” he said. 

Keeler will join Mercy on or around Jan. 15, and will report to Ritz.

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