Metro-East Living

Anderson Hospital president is like the coach of a baseball team

When Keith Page became president of Anderson Hospital 12 years ago, he tried to explain to his two sons what he did for a living in common terms.

“I told them that the president of a hospital is like the coach of a baseball team,” he said. “Your job is to make the most of your talent, recognize the areas where you can improve and develop a strategy to be successful.”

Of course, a hospital’s goal is to save lives, not win pennants, and Keith takes that very seriously. He’s involved in everything from quality control to physician recruitment.

His team consists of more than 1,000 employees, 200 physicians and 200 volunteers.

“It takes a special person to work at a hospital,” he said. “They have to really care for people who are not at their best when they’re here. It’s our job to help them get better.”

Keith, 57, of Edwardsville, was born in North Carolina. His family lived in Virginia and Nova Scotia before his father was transferred to Scott Air Force Base.

Keith grew up in Fairview Heights, graduated from Belleville East in 1975, joined Army ROTC and earned a bachelor’s in business at Washington University and a master’s in health care administration at St. Louis University.

“It was the combination of business, which I had studied as an undergraduate, and health care, which (focuses) on doing something good for people in the community,” he said.

Keith also may have been influenced by his sister, Karen Duckworth, a nurse in Highland.

After college, Keith joined the U.S. Army and served two years with a tank battalion. Then he got a plum assignment to help design and build a new Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.

“Right as I was being discharged, the groundbreaking for the hospital took place,” he said.

Keith later worked in hospital administration at Alexian Brothers Medical Center near Chicago and St. Mary’s Good Samaritan in Centralia before joining Anderson’s staff as chief operating officer in 1996.

Keith’s sons now are grown. Dusty, 24, works as a software engineer in St. Louis and Brady, 21, is studying business at McKendree University.

In his free time, Keith enjoys reading and trapshooting. He and his wife, Kelly, also go to see their son’s performances in a jazz trio called the Yard Dawgs.

“I guess you could say we’re groupies,” Keith said.