Doug Boysen said he could not be happier to call the mid-valley home and as of Monday, assumes a new role as president and CEO of Samaritan Health Services.

He takes over from Larry Mullins, who is taking over leadership of Samaritan Solutions Institute. The Nevada, Iowa, native brings a background as an attorney who also has a master’s degree in health administration to the position. He'll guide a network of five hospitals and 5,000 employees.

“One summer, while I was attending the University of Northern Iowa, I got an internship working at a local hospital and that’s when I fell in love with the hospital environment,” Boysen said. “I really learned to appreciate the people who work in health care and the mission behind it.”

Boysen was always interested in the law as well, and the University of Iowa offered him the opportunity to earn both a Juris Doctor and a master of health administration degree in four years. He graduated in 1998.

“I had always thought about going to law school,” Boysen said. “After my internship in the hospital in college, I found a way to do both at Iowa.”

Boysen said he could see health care becoming much more regulated and major changes coming, which he knew would require someone versed in both legal and health fields.

Boysen practiced law for several years at Von Briesen, Purtell & Roper, a nationally recognized health care law firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

He then spent five years as assistant general counsel at Legacy Health in Portland, but when he and his wife, Kerry, began having children, they knew they wanted to move to a smaller community.

A friend introduced him to David Triebes, who also went to college in Iowa, and heads up Samaritan’s Albany General Hospital.

“It was perfect timing,” Boysen said. “Samaritan did not have in-house counsel and Larry (Mullins) was thinking about creating the position.”

In 2006, Boysen joined Samaritan Health Services as vice president and general counsel. In 2012 he was promoted to vice president general counsel and human resources.

“Working with Larry has been great. I have learned a lot from him and he has been a mentor to me,” Boysen said. “I’ve learned a lot about his vision and how to look at the future, project where health care is going. He’s fun to work with and he jokes around a lot, too. He truly cares about the people with whom he works.”

Boysen said he believes his major challenge will be dealing with declining reimbursements for services. He said that will mean every department will need to be focused on efficiency.

“We already have a well-integrated system and we are providing a high level of care,” Boysen said. “If we can be extremely efficient and provide services more affordably for our communities, that will help keep us going forward in the future.”

In 2014, Boysen left Samaritan Health Services and moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he spent a year as regional counsel for UnityPoint Health, a regional health system with more than 30 hospitals and 30,000 employees.

But in 2015, Boysen learned that Mullins planned to shift gears within a couple years and the Samaritan board of directors wanted him as Mullins’ successor.

He returned to the system as executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

“We had gone back to the Midwest in part to be closer to our families,” Boysen said. “What we learned is that we love the mid-valley and we’ve become Oregonians. We have made our home here. We appreciate the people of the communities we serve. It was a very good learning opportunity about where we belong.”

Boysen has been a guest lecturer at Oregon State University, Pacific University and Western University of Health Sciences and is an adjunct faculty member at Oregon State and Pacific University.

He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Health Lawyers Association.

He volunteers with Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services, the Center for Nonprofit Stewardship, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Trout Unlimited. He also serves with the Corvallis Vision 2040 Implementation Group.

Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.

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