Keith Hovan has been removed from his position as chief executive of Southcoast Health, a large healthcare organization in southeastern Massachusetts which encompasses Charlton Memorial Hospital, St. Luke’s Hopsital, and Tobey Hospital.

On January 28, 2022 the Southcoast Health Board of Trustees said in an internal email that they had determined it was “in the best interest of Southcoast Health for Keith Hovan not to return.”

Hovan’s dismissal stems from a domestic assault arrest in November 2021. His firearm permit was suspended, which lead to the discovery of an arsenal of weapons in a locked room in his home:

  • Over 45 firearms
  • Over 19,000 rounds of ammunition
  • 83 illegal high capacity magazines, including a 100-round drum

The domestic charge was dismissed in December 2021 when his wife refused to testify. 

Calls for Dismissal Were Immediate

Hovan’s arrest had spurred widespread calls for his dismissal and over a thousand people had signed a petition for his removal from the hospital.

In January a justice from the Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that the matter of the illegal magazines will be closed to the public, in response to a complaint from the New Bedford Light.

Harsh Public Reaction

From the beginning, public remarks from organizations and individuals have been unfavorable toward Hovan:

On the dismissal of the domestic assault and battery charge.

On the ruling to block public access regarding the potential felony charge for illegal firearm magazines.

He had stepped down from his position on the Massachusetts Public Health Council about a week after his arrest; he was appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker in April of 2019 for a six-year term.  He is no longer a member of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association Board of Trustees.