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Meet the Network Management Council, the Hospital & Service Line Leadership and the SSM Medical Group Leadership of SSM Health Care - St. Louis.
She shares leadership with the regional president of the physician organization, both of whom are charged with creating, maintaining and advancing SSM’s integrated delivery network in response to the health needs of the region.
Before joining SSM, Jennings served as senior vice president for Tennessee operations for the Mountain States Health Alliance. She served as the market leader for the Tennessee division, which included five acute-care and three specialty hospitals.
Jennings, a registered nurse, also served as senior practice partner at Wheless and Associates, an executive search firm in Birmingham, Ala., and as senior vice president and hospital administrator at Northeast Baptist Hospital, San Antonio. She also spent five years as a consultant to health care organizations with Ernst & Young.
She holds a master’s degree in health services administration and a master of science in nursing from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.
James Bleicher, MD, was named regional president for the SSM Health Care – St. Louis Physicians’ Organization, a multi-specialty group practice with more than 325 physicians in 40 locations covering the greater St. Louis region, in January 2015. Dr. Bleicher joined SSM with more than a decade of executive leadership experience in large health care systems across the country. Previously, Dr. Bleicher was president and chief executive of the employed physician group at Pinnacle Health System in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining Pinnacle, Dr. Bleicher served in various chief executive and vice president of medical affairs roles within health care organizations across Arizona and Michigan. He is a board certified internist who received his medical degree at Michigan State University. He also is a Six Sigma black belt and holds a Master of Science in Health Care Management from Harvard University.
Lee BernsteinRegional Executive VP, Hospital Operations, Chief Operating OfficerBernstein has been with SSM Health Care - St. Louis since 2007, initially as the interim executive vice president/chief operating officer for SSM St. Joseph Hospital West and then leading the network’s North Operating Group as executive vice president/chief operating officer.
Prior to joining SSM Health Care – St. Louis, Bernstein spent 20 years as a vice president for BJC Health Care in various operating capacities. He was a principal in the design and activation of The Center for Advanced Medicine, the development of 48 new operating rooms for Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the opening of The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis.
Bernstein holds master’s degrees in both health and business administration from Washington University in St. Louis.
Maggie FowlerRegional VP, NursingChief Nursing ExecutiveFowler is the regional vice president of nursing/chief nursing officer (CNO) for SSM Health Care – St. Louis. She was appointed to the position in early 2012. Fowler has been an SSM Health Care nursing executive for more than 20 years. She previously served as vice president for nursing operations for SSM Health Care – St. Louis’ North Operating Group, executive vice president/chief operating officer and vice president of patient services for SSM St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles, and executive vice president/chief operating officer and regional administrator for SSM Rehab.
As chief nursing officer, Fowler provides responsibility and accountability for SSM Health Care - St. Louis’ delivery of quality health care as it applies to the areas of patient satisfaction, safety and professional nursing practice.
Fowler earned her master of business administration from Maryville University, St. Louis, and her bachelor of science in nursing from Webster University, St. Louis.
Kevin Johnson, MD Regional VP, Medical Affairs/Chief Medical OfficerKevin Johnson, MD, has served as Chief Medical Officer of SSM Health Care – St. Louis since November 2008. In this role, Dr. Johnson is responsible for overseeing the strategic development, direction and management support provided to the health care network’s seven St. Louis hospitals and the SSM Medical Group in the areas of clinical quality performance, patient safety and clinical resource management.
In addition to his role as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Johnson has served as the network’s Vice President – Chief Quality Officer since March 2008. He also served as Vice President, Medical Affairs at SSM DePaul Health Center from 1998 to March 2008.
From 1985 – 2004, Dr. Johnson held hospital staff memberships at SSM DePaul Health Center and St. John’s Mercy Medical Center; practicing pulmonary medicine, critical care and internal medicine with Northway Internists and SSM DePaul Medical Group.
Dr. Johnson earned his MBA in 1998 and his certification as a Physician Executive (ACPE) in 2001. Dr. Johnson also served as a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Examiner for three years, from 2004 to 2006. In 2007, Dr. Johnson attained Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt certification.
Karen RewertsRegional VP, Finance/CFO Karen Rewerts serves as the SSM Health Care – St. Louis network’s vice president of finance and as its chief financial officer. She oversees the network’s financial functions, including accounting, finance and patient financial services.
Rewerts most recently was SSM Health Care – St. Louis’ vice president/planning and decision support. She has been with SSM Health Care for 18 years, starting as director of financial planning at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, where she also served as director of strategy and business development.
A certified public accountant (CPA), Rewerts earned her master of business administration from Saint Louis University and a bachelor of science in accountancy from the University of Illinois.
Renee RoachRegional VP, Human ResourcesRenee Roach was named regional vice president for human resources for SSM Health Care – St. Louis in July 2014. In her position, Roach is responsible for implementing and supporting all human resources initiatives, programs and procedures in the St. Louis network in collaboration with SSM Health Care’s system human resources team. Areas of responsibility include employment, compensation, benefits, physician relations, employee relations, learning, development and diversity. She reports to the system’s senior vice president for human resources.
Roach joined SSM after working for Express Scripts Inc. as vice president for human resources since 2010. At Express Scripts, she was a strategic business partner supporting key initiatives: talent acquisition and development, executive compensation, workforce planning and optimization , HR operations, performance management, and employee and labor relations.
Before that, Roach served as senior vice president for human resources for Citigroup Inc. in O’Fallon. She has experience with two other health-care organizations: Crossroads Regional Medical Center in Wentzville and OSF HealthCare in Peoria, Ill.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s in organizational communication, both at the University of Illinois Springfield. She has held her certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, from the HR Certification Institute, since 2001.
Ellis HawkinsPresident, SSM St. Clare Health Center Beginning January 2014, Ellis Hawkins serves as president of SSM St. Clare Health Center. Most recently, Hawkins served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, MO. Hawkins has more than 22 years of experience in health care in the areas of operations and financial management, performance improvement, strategic planning, clinical integration, physician relations and service line development. He previously worked for twelve years with SSM Health Care, serving in the roles of Administrative Director Oncology and Outpatient Services for SSM DePaul Health Center, Administrative Director of Business Development for SSM St. Joseph Health Center, Executive Director of Diagnostics for SSM St. Louis, and Executive Director for Ambulatory Operations for SSM St. Louis. Hawkins holds an undergraduate degree from Southern Illinois University, as well as a MBA from Webster University.
Mike BowersPresident, SSM St. Joseph Health CenterMike Bowers took over as president of the 333-bed SSM St. Joseph Health Center in June 2014. Bowers oversees hospital operations for SSM St. Joseph Health Center, SSM St. Joseph Medical Park and SSM St. Joseph Health Center - Wentzville. Since 1996, Bowers has served in leadership roles in large health-care systems. He brought to SSM his extensive experience in operations, financial management, strategy and business development and in developing physician relationships to SSM Health Care. Prior to joining the SSM team, he served most recently as chief operating officer for Bakersfield Memorial Hospital and chief strategy officer for the Dignity Health Central Valley Region – both with the Dignity Health system in California. Bowers earned a bachelor’s degree in biological science from the University of Pittsburgh and master’s degrees in health and business administration from the University of Houston - Clear Lake.
Lisle WescottPresident, SSM St. Joseph Hospital WestService Line Executive, SSM OrthopedicsLisle Wescott is president of SSM St. Joseph Hospital West, a 122-bed hospital located in in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., and service line executive for SSM Orthopedics. Wescott joined SSM Health Care – St. Louis in 2004 as a physician services manager at SSM DePaul Health Center and has served in various positions during her tenure. She most recently worked as the Network Director of Strategy and Business Development for SSM Orthopedics, and has proven herself to be an exceptional leader. She has extensive experience in operations, program development, strategic planning and physician partnerships. Her focus continues on deepening alignment and relationships with physicians and strengthening patient, physician and employee satisfaction. Wescott holds a master’s degree in social work from California State University in Fresno, CA.
Thomas Hanley, M.D. Vice President, Medical Affairs – Primary and Specialty GroupsSSM Medical GroupThomas Hanley, M.D., has served as the vice president, medical affairs of primary and specialty groups for the SSM Medical Group since 2013. In this role, Dr. Hanley directs initiatives related to population health, such as Patient Centered Medical Home, Medical Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organization and the St. Louis Clinical Integration Organization. Dr. Hanley joined the SSM Medical Group in 2000. Since 2007, he has had an ever-increasing role as an administrative physician leader within the organization. His initial role included implementing Epic electronic health records in the Medical Group offices and establishing the Medical Group Quality and Process Improvement Department. Dr. Hanley’s long-standing association with SSM Health Care – St. Louis includes a term as Medical Staff President at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center in 1993, among other leadership roles. Dr. Hanley is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. He received his Medical Degree from St. Louis University and completed his residency training from St. Louis University at St. Mary’s Health Center.
Margaret Head, RN, MSN, MBAVice President, OperationsPhysicians’ OrganizationMargaret Head was named vice president of operations for the medical group in September 2014. She came to SSM from Vanderbilt Medical Group in Nashville, Tennessee, where she served as chief operating officer and chief nursing officer. While there, she directed all ambulatory operations for more than 1600 Vanderbilt medical group physicians providing a full range of primary care, specialty and ancillary services, comprising more than 130 outpatient specialty practices in several campus and off-campus locations. Prior to her position at Vanderbilt, Head was accountable for all operational activities of a large multi-specialty group practice of approximately 300 providers and 1200 staff at 18 locations in the greater Houston area at the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston, Texas. She obtained an MSN from University of Texas Health Science Center and an MBA from University of Houston at Clear Lake.
Stephen Nicholas, M.D.Vice President, Medical Affairs – Service Line PracticesPhysicians’ OrganizationStephen Nicholas, M.D., accepted the role of vice president, medical affairs in April 2014. In this role, Dr. Nicholas oversees four key service lines for SSM Health Care – St. Louis: SSM Cancer Care, SSM Heart Institute, SSM Neurosciences Institute and SSM Orthopedics. Dr. Nicholas works with service line teams to ensure patients receive the highest quality of care and service. He has served in several medical leadership positions within SSM Health Care, including Clinical Director of Clayton Wellness, Medical Director of Gastroenterology, Associate Director for the Department of Internal Medicine, and Medical Director Informatics at SSM St. Mary’s Health Center. Dr. Nicholas also has been in private practice in internal medicine and gastroenterology since 1984. Dr. Nicholas obtained his medical degree from University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at St. Mary’s Health Center and gastroenterology fellowship from St. Louis University at St. Mary’s Health Center. Dr. Nicholas also earned an MBA degree from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.
David A. KelchExecutive DirectorSSM Medical Group – West RegionDavid A. Kelch, FACMPE, is executive director of SSM Medical Group – West Region, a multi-specialty medical group serving St. Charles County, Warrenton and Troy, Mo. Specialties include primary care, ob/gyn, allergy and immunology, cardiology, gastroenterology, breast surgery, general surgery, endovascular surgery, endocrinology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, podiatry, pulmonology, sleep medicine and rheumatology. Kelch has been active in health care management since the early 1980s. He began his career with SSM Health Care at SSM St. Joseph Health Center while he was still in high school. He then joined Blanchette Management from 1987 through 1999. Kelch rejoined SSM Health Care in 2003 and served for nearly 10 years as associate executive director for SSM Medical Group – West Region (formerly SSM St. Charles Clinic Medical Group). Kelch is past president of the Medical Group Management Association–Missouri (MGMA-MO) and currently serves as Chairman of the Vendor Relations Committee for MGMA National.