CIRCLEVILLE - Keith Holten, MD, chief medical officer at Berger Health System, retired on June 30 after 31 years of service in healthcare.
During Dr. Holten's five years at Berger, he has made a positive impact on clinical care at Berger, while providing compassionate healthcare to the community. Among his many accomplishments, Holten is most proud of the founding of the Free Clinic of Pickaway County. The Free Clinic was in operation from October 2010 to December 2014 and saw hundreds of patients each year. The Free Clinic was a temporary solution to provide care to those in need until they could be plugged into the healthcare system.
"I have always tried to give the underserved a priority," Holten said. "I know people fear going to the doctor because of the cost of medical care. I wanted to support the community effort to open the Free Clinic where there were no financial barriers that traditionally prevent people from getting the help they need. I believe healthcare is a right, not something one has to earn."
In addition to being instrumental in creating the Free Clinic, Holten implemented changes that improved patient services. He improved physician relationships, played a key role in physician recruiting, as well as led the transformation of the quality department to a Center of Clinical Excellence.
One transformation project reduced the wait time that patients spend in the Emergency Department.
"By building upon the good work of past physician leaders, Dr. Holten took Berger Health System to the next level of heathcare," said Tim Colburn, president and CEO of Berger Health System. "He steadfastly encouraged the best practices in medicine and has raised the bar for clinical excellence at Berger."
Assuming many of Dr. Holten's duties after his retirement is his successor, Jill Barno, MD. Dr. Barno was appointed Vice President of Medical Affairs on May 1 and has transitioned into overseeing day to day operations of clinical affairs.
Dr. Holten has 20 years of academic experience and encourages students to pursue medical careers, especially in small communities. After retirement, he and his wife will be spending some time at their home in Florida, where he is having conversations with a state college to design curriculum and teach business with a healthcare emphasis.
Although Dr. Holten is retiring, he has plans to continue improving healthcare. The Berger Health System family is very grateful for Dr. Holten's effort and guidance in making healthcare better for Pickaway County residents.
"This is not the last time Dr. Holten will be positively impacting healthcare in Pickaway County," Colburn said. "We are considering opportunities to collaborate on projects in his role as an adviser."