Debbie Walsh

Longtime chief executive of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Leo LaBella stepped down and will be replaced by new executive Debbie Walsh. Walsh most recently worked as president and chief executive of Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center and was chief executive of the former USC University Hospital, now Keck Hospital, from 2006 to 2009. (Photo courtesy of Jason Wallis / August 13, 2013)

Longtime chief executive of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Len LaBella is stepping down, to be replaced by new executive Debbie Walsh.

The 158-bed hospital, which finalized its acquisition by Keck Hospital of USC earlier last month, announced the switch on Tuesday, and Wednesday announced the appointment of its first-ever chief medical officer.

Walsh, who most recently was president and chief executive of Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center and was chief executive of the former USC University Hospital, now Keck Hospital, from 2006 to 2009.

“I’m excited about expanding on the accomplishments Len LaBella made during his 12-year tenure, and I look forward to meeting members of the community,” Walsh said in a statement. “It’s also great to come back and be part of the Trojan Family.”

LaBella’s will serve as an emeritus adviser to the hospital until his retirement, which is anticipated to come later this year, following more than 42 years of experience as a health care executive.
LaBella praised the hiring of Walsh in a statement.

“USC Verdugo Hills is fortunate to have selected a seasoned CEO with the requisite talent and experience to meet the challenges facing a senior health care executive,” LaBella said.

The hospital also announced the appointment of USC neuroradiologist Donald W. Larsen as the hospital’s first chief medical officer. Larsen will serve as the primary liaison between doctors at Verdugo Hills and the parent organization.

Larsen will report to Walsh, and will supervise clinical quality, safety, staffing and case management initiatives.

“As a resident of the Foothill communities and having raised my family there, it’s extremely rewarding for me to now directly serve the community that I call home,” Larsen said in a statement.

-- Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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