New CEO Phil Buttell set to assume top job Monday at Los Robles hospital in Thousand Oaks

The former leader of a Kansas for-profit hospital has been hired as the new CEO of Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks and will begin the job Monday.

Hospital leaders confirmed Phil Buttell will succeed Natalie Mussi as leader of the Los Robles Health System that includes Ventura County’s largest hospital. Buttell led Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park for nearly five years as CEO. Both Menorah and Los Robles are run by for-profit HCA, one of the nation's largest health systems.

In March, Mussi took on her new role as vice president of operations for the Surgery Ventures group in HCA Healthcare's Far West Division.

The new leader comes to a health system that includes the 325-bed regional medical center and six other sites ranging from a specialized surgical hospital to clinics.

In March, Los Robles won approval from the Thousand Oaks City Council to build a two-story comprehensive cancer care center on Rolling Oaks Drive in Thousand Oaks. Los Robles was also in the spotlight in October when leaders agreed to pay a $30.5 million settlement in a civil lawsuit over a patient’s death in 2018 while at the same time not admitting wrongdoing.

The hospital also drew attention recently for a union dispute. Nurses in SEIU Local 121RN waged a five-day strike in November before later reaching a contract agreement with the hospital. Hospital leaders have pointed at accolades such as the facility’s 11 consecutive “A” grades from the nonprofit patient safety organization, The Leapfrog Group.

Before becoming CEO at Menorah Medical Center, Buttell worked for many years as chief operating officer for the Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in health services administration and also a law degree, both from the University of Kansas.

In a February letter to Los Robles' about 1,800 employees, HCA Far West Division President Jackie Van Blaricum cited Buttell’s ability to collaborate with doctors and employees.

“Phil has demonstrated an excellent track record in maximizing patient experience while focusing on quality clinical care,” she wrote. “His enthusiasm and passion for the overall health and well-being of the communities he serves is at the forefront of all that he does.”

Buttell expressed excitement at the new job in a statement released Tuesday.

"This is a wonderful health system with top-notch care teams that deliver safe, quality care to the communities it serves," he said. "I couldn't be happier to contribute to Los Robles' legacy of exceptional patient care."

Los Robles leaders said early this year Mussi was leaving in March to work with Surgery Ventures group and to be closer to her parents in Northern California. She has worked at the hospital since 2008 and was named its first female CEO 10 years ago.

Megan Merino, Los Robles spokesperson, said Mussi started her new role in March but also agreed to stay on at Los Robles until Monday when she will be succeeded by Buttell.

Tom Kisken covers health care and other news for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at

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This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: HCA Healthcare names new CEO for Los Robles Health System