News Story

As Medical Center COO, Health Systems Administration Alumnus Helps Lead COVID-19 Response

April 27, 2020 – Ken West (G’09), who received his master of science degree in health systems administration at Georgetown, serves as the chief operating officer of Regional Medical Center of San Jose.   

“My responsibilities include ancillary and support operations, construction management, real estate, environment of care, emergency management, service line development, and strategic planning,” said West, who is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

A head shot of Ken West in a suit
Ken West (G’09)

West’s organization, located in Northern California, has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic for weeks.

“Being located in Silicon Valley, we experienced some of the initial wave of COVID-19 patients in the U.S.,” he said. “My organization in particular received a sustained influx of COVID-19 patients which resulted in a surge in use of intensive care unit beds as well as increased utilization of ventilators.” 

24/7 Operation

“We were fortunate in our ability to accommodate the additional capacity needs through preparing for a variety of different scenarios,” West added. “We were also able to leverage the scale and resources of our parent company, HCA Healthcare, and that of Santa Clara County’s Emergency Operations Center.”      

The response, West said, became a 24 hour a day, seven day a week operation.

“Our response to COVID-19 included the establishment of a 24/7 incident command and communication center, limiting perimeter access to the hospital, minimizing non-essential visitation, and implementing screening for all patients, employees, vendors and medical staff,” he said. “To ensure effective distribution and conservation of personal protective equipment (PPE), we established a 24/7 PPE depot to make sure our caregivers were equipped with the correct type and amount of PPE when needed to protect themselves.”   

‘Men and Women for Others’

Before his current role, West served in various administrative ones with HCA, including COO of Medical Center of Trinity in Florida, associate COO at HCA-Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Medical Center in Virginia, and associate COO at HCA-Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, also in Virginia.

“While I would say a public health crisis of this magnitude is certainly unprecedented in most everyone’s career, I believe that the fundamentals of emergency management and crisis management in my previous professional experiences gave me a foundation from which to draw upon,” he said. “In addition, the Jesuit value, ‘men and women for others,’ I learned as a student at Georgetown continues to keep me grounded in who we serve.”      

West acknowledged the entire team at his organization.

“I am immensely proud of how our team continues to rise to the occasion on a daily basis to serve our community, employees, and medical staff during this challenging time,” he said.