Who We Are

James Ketterhagen, MD, MMM, CPE, FACS, FAAPL, FACHE

Dr. Ketterhagen leads the JK Partners healthcare consulting practice. Driven by a passion for medical error prevention, he has vast experience leading patient safety and clinical quality initiatives. After 12 years in the private practice of vascular surgery, he has spent 21 years as a senior physician executive in multi-hospital integrated delivery systems, HMO and national managed indemnity settings.

Dr. Ketterhagen possesses broad expertise in high reliability, hospital-acquired conditions, regulatory compliance, reimbursement programs and the underlying causes of adverse events. With his understanding of the barriers that hospitals face when addressing these issues, he partners effectively with clients and reinvigorates staff and physicians in the pursuit of patient safety and high quality care.

How We Help

Healthcare Consulting Services

Dr. Ketterhagen and his associates at JK Partners are available for keynote or other speaking engagements and can also facilitate executive retreats, seminars or other healthcare events.

Patient Safety and
High Reliability

Medical errors continue to challenge our healthcare system. The application of high reliability principles, process improvement and cultural transformation techniques make safe patient care a reality.

Preventable medical errors are estimated to be responsible for up to 400,000 patient deaths in U.S. hospitals at a cost of between $15 and $19 billion per year. This is an embarrassment. The eradication of adverse events is complex and requires extensive experience and knowledge of lessons learned from organizations both within and outside of the healthcare industry.

Dr. Ketterhagen and his team partner with physicians, staff and senior leaders to transform organizations by applying best-in-class approaches to patient safety.


Successful healthcare organizations partner effectively with their physicians. The establishment and maintenance of strong and lasting medical staff relationships is the key to effective hospital leadership.

Physician relationships can be challenging. JK Partners capitalizes on years of experience managing medical affairs, credentialing and privileging, hospital/physician joint ventures, physician impairment and disruptive physician behavior.

Our approach is based on an effective balance of collegiality and accountability. The focus is always on what is best for the patients while acknowledging the unique expertise of physicians as they become effective members of the health care team.

Executive Position

Reorganization and transition of senior physician executive roles occurs frequently in today’s rapidly changing environment. Experienced leaders who hit the ground running avoid costly leadership deficits during these challenging junctures.

Physician executives typically oversee a variety of critical hospital functions, including medical affairs, quality and safety, infection prevention, risk management and medical informatics, to name a few. When a vacancy occurs, effective interim leadership is needed to maintain and advance initiatives in these areas.

With 21 years of experience in multiple sectors of the healthcare industry, JK Partners can seamlessly step into senior physician executive roles until a permanent replacement is found. We are available for both full and part time interim engagements.

Health Management

Effective management of the health of a population is no longer just a vision for the future, but is now a growing element of health care payment formulas. Hospitals, medical groups and Accountable Care Organizations need to excel in this new approach.

Recent regulatory changes broadly referred to as the Affordable Care Act have prompted a fresh approach to healthcare delivery. JK Partners assists Accountable Care Organizations and other entities in the integration of all elements of the healthcare continuum. These elements include a patient-centered medical home, specialty care, home care, community and other non-hospital care, data analytics, technology and patient engagement in a unified approach to health.


News & Updates

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Incident Reporting: Is it really helping?

Incident Reporting (IR) in healthcare refers to any of a number of patient safety event reporting systems that rely on those who become aware of events to provide detailed information describing any accident or deviation from policies or orders involving a patient, employee, visitor, or student on the premises of a healthcare facility. It includes […]

Plain Talk about Pay for Performance – 37 numbers you need to know

The complex set of measures that comprise the three major CMS programs known as Pay for Performance can be overwhelming, as I started to discuss in my earlier blog post on Hospital-Specific Reports. Let’s continue to simplify all the information. It’s really not that hard, although wading through the multitude of documents that describe the […]

What is a Hospital Specific Report, and Why Do I Care?

Today I would like to discuss several reports that relate to the three major Pay-for-Performance programs that you may want to be aware of. The “Hospital-Specific Report” (HSR) is a specific type of report compiled by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which provides each hospital with information regarding the Pay-for-Performance programs. CMS […]

Look in the Basement to Reduce Infections

For the past 21/2 years as a hospital operations and quality and safety consultant, conducting a tour of our clients’ central sterile supply department (CSSD) has become a routine part of my job. I’ve seen remarkably high-quality and efficient operations that are clearly best practice. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve seen some […]