CHRISTUS Health announced today that Chris Karam, president and CEO of CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System, has been named Senior Vice President of Group Operations and president and CEO of CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Health System in Alexandria, La., effective Sept. 24, 2018. Jason Rounds, COO of CHRISTUS St. Michael, has been named interim president and CEO for the system.
Karam will have oversight of all the system’s ministries in Louisiana and Southeast Texas, including CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier Health System, CHRISTUS Southwestern Louisiana Health System and CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System. His appointment follows the retirement announcement of Stephen Wright, current SVP of Group Operations and the departure of Nancy Hellyer, current president and CEO of CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini, on Sept. 28.
Karam has over 35 years of experience in health care, 32 of which were spent with a number of CHRISTUS facilities in Shreveport, La., Alexandria, La. and Beaumont, Texas. He has served as president and CEO of CHRISTUS St. Michael since 2003, during which time the hospital has earned numerous accolades and awards, including U.S. News & World Report naming it Best Hospital in Texas, and it received the Texas Award for Performance Excellence, the highest award for quality in the State of Texas. It was also named one of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare four times, one of the 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker’s Hospital Review and in the top 15 percent in the nation for outstanding patient experience in 2017 and 2018 by HealthGrades. The hospital earned Magnet recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2012, the most prestigious distinction a health care organization can receive for nursing excellence. In addition, Karam led the negotiations that brought CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital – Atlanta into the CHRISTUS system in 2013.
“CHRISTUS St. Michael has earned many impressive awards under Chris’s leadership,” said Jeff Puckett, executive vice president and chief operating officer of CHRISTUS Health. “But it’s really his heart that makes Chris an effective leader. Everyone he meets knows that Chris cares about our Associates, physicians and patients like he does his own family, and I’m proud that he will continue to serve our ministry in a broader role.”
Jason Rounds has served as COO of CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System for seven years. He came to Texarkana from CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier, where he served as vice president and administrator from 2007-2011. He has almost 30 years of experience in health care in New Mexico, East Texas, Louisiana and Texas in finance and accounting, managed care contracting and negotiation, business planning, physician relations and administration and operations. Jason’s leadership has been vital in CHRISTUS St. Michael’s high patient and Associate satisfaction and its operational and financial success.
“Our CHRISTUS ministries are blessed to have skilled and experienced leaders who know our system and the communities we serve and who can step in to lead effectively with minimal transition time,” Puckett said. “I’m proud of the legacy Chris and Jason have built at CHRISTUS St. Michael, and I know that Chris’s compassionate, people-driven approach will continue in Louisiana and Southeast Texas.”