Arroyo Grande Community Hospital gets new leader

An Orange County native has been named chief administrative officer of Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.

Ken Dalebout, 45, succeeds Rick Castro, who led the hospital for seven years and left at the end of July to take a job as chief operations officer for McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center near Eugene, Ore.

Dalebout, who started Oct. 17, was also named chief strategy officer for Catholic Healthcare West Hospitals of the Central Coast, which include French Hospital Medical Center and Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria. In that role, he will lead and monitor each hospital’s strategic planning and business development efforts.

As chief administrative officer, he’ll oversee Arroyo Grande Community Hospital’s 67-bed facility and its off-site imaging, oncology and surgery centers. The not-for-profit medical center employs about 400 people.

In August, Catholic Healthcare West announced it would lay off 30 employees at the three hospitals, including two at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.

During a phone interview Tuesday, Dalebout said he does not foresee any further layoffs or restructuring of hospital staff in the near future.

Dalebout said he plans to look at areas where the hospital can potentially expand, and noted two specific areas: the hospital’s emergency room and its new 14-bed Acute Rehabilitation Center.

The $3 million center, which opened in the summer, often has 12 patients and is occasionally full, with some patients waiting.

“In terms of the market demand, there might be another six (people) that we could easily be serving now,” Dalebout said.

Also, he anticipates that emergency room visits will continue to grow. From July 2010 to July of this year, 22,000 people visited Arroyo Grande Community Hospital’s emergency room, compared to 16,350 visits to French Hospital.

Part of that, he added, is because the Arroyo Grande hospital serves the entire South County, with a population that exceeds San Luis Obispo’s, which has two hospitals.

Dalebout most recently served as vice president of strategy and business development for Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills. There, he launched one of the nation’s fastest-growing robotic surgery programs, according to a news release from Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.

He has also served in leadership roles at St. Joseph’s Health System and USC Norris Cancer Hospital. Dalebout has a master’s degree in business administration and health care administration from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University in Utah.

He is married and has four children.