Saint Alphonsus Ontario will seek a new leader, as Ken Hart readies to leave for new role

Ken Hart, president of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario, takes a look at one of the sections of the Heritage Wall, which was unveiled in August of 2017. The wall is a tribute to the faith-based foundation and leaders who worked together to create the hospital’s existence.

ONTARIO — The leader of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center-Ontario will be stepping down to assume a leadership position with Valley Family Health Care.

According to a news release on Friday afternoon, Ken Hart announced that he will step down as president on Aug. 22 to become the chief financial officer at Valley Health, “a great partner” of Saint Alphonsus Ontario.

The release from Odette Bolano, president and CEO of Saint Alphonsus Health System says she will be restructuring Hart’s position to that of president/chief nursing officer. The opening will be posted immediately and Bolano says the hope is to find the right candidate before Hart leaves. If not, the plan is for Dina Ellwanger to return to serve in the interim.

Hart joined Saint Alphonsus in 2013, and “progressed rapidly to roles of increasing responsibility,” including executive director of Foundation and Community Development and vice president of operations before becoming president and CEO in 2017.

Prior to his employment there, his served as a volunteer member of the Community Hospital Board of Holy Rosary in 2005 and was the board chairman in 2009 when then-Holy Rosary became a part of Saint Alphonsus Health System. Additionally, he served on the Health System board until 2011 and as chairman of the Health System’s planning and finance committee.

“Throughout his tenure, Ken has made significant contributions to SAMC-O and the community at large,” reads the release.

This included his work as a foundation director, when he lead the effort to raise over $500,000 to renovate the maternity unit and his oversight of the $50 million hospital capital redesign. He also oversaw numerous other construction projects including the Ontario Health Plaza.

“During his tenure as President, the hospital has improved its physician engagement scores from one of the lowest in the Trinity Health System to one of the highest,” reads the release. “Employee safety and engagement scores have also increased consistently over the past several years.”

Additionally, the hospital in the past three years received for the first time in its history a 5-star rating for patient satisfaction, quality of care and patient safety.

“One of the proudest moments for me as President was when Ontario was named a 5-star hospital by CMS in 2019,” said Hart in the release. “That designation is a culmination of hard work by our staff and providers to improved patient safety and the quality of the care received in our local hospital.”

Hart was not available for comment on Friday afternoon.

Bolano asks the community to join her in wishing Hart the best of success in his new role.

“We know that Ken will continue to be a great friend of Saint Alphonsus as he will remain active in the Ontario community,” Bolano concluded.

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