Alan Keesee calls the night of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting one of the defining moments of his career.
He was the on-call administrator at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas when the emergency room received 230 victims from the tragedy at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Keesee, who was chief operating officer of Sunrise from mid-2015 to early 2018, oversaw the team of clinicians triaging and treating the patients late into the night.
“That is a huge mark of something I've done, leading through that. I will carry it with me for the rest of my career,” he said.
The experience exemplified why Keesee wanted to be a hospital administrator in the first place.
“We are here for our community no matter what. Every single person in our community relies on us, and I take that responsibility with a lot of weight,” he said.
For his achievements and dedication over his 10-year career, Keesee is the 2019 recipient of the American College of Healthcare Executives' Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award for Young Healthcare Executive of the Year.
Keesee, 35, has since left Sunrise and is currently CEO of Capital Regional Medical Center, a 266-bed community hospital in Tallahassee, Fla. Both facilities are part of HCA Healthcare. Keesee got his start in healthcare leadership through HCA's Executive Residency Program in 2010.
Since taking over as CEO of Capital Regional last March, Keesee has focused on recruiting new physicians and improving employee retention.
In less than a year, 20 new physicians have joined the hospital. The goal is to provide more services locally, so patients will choose Capital instead of traveling, Keesee said.
Additionally, his focus on engaging employees lowered the nurse turnover rate from 30% to 11%. Keesee said he conducts about 14 town hall meetings every quarter, participates in daily rounding and elicits questions from staff through an online portal. Capital has 1,200 employees and 400 providers.
If employees “don't have what they need to be successful, it doesn't matter what strategy we have. They are our mission in a lot of ways, to care for them so they can care for our patients,” he said. —Maria Castellucci
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated when Christine Candio became CEO of St. Luke's Health; she moved to that position in 2015.