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Candace JenningsPresident/CEOSSM Health Care - St. LouisCandace Jennings joined SSM Health Care - St. Louis as the new regional president for hospital operations in August 2014.In her role, Jennings has responsibility for seven hospitals in the St. Louis area: SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center, SSM DePaul Health Center, SSM St. Clare Health Center, SSM St. Joseph Health Center, SSM St. Joseph Health Center - Wentzville, SSM St. Joseph Hospital West and SSM St. Mary’s Health Center, along with SSM St. Joseph Medical Park. The St. Louis network includes about 2,500 physicians and 11,200 employees.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.
Lee BernsteinRegional Executive Vice President of Hospital Operations/Chief Operating OfficerSSM Health Care-St. Louis
President, SSM St. Clare Health Center, interimBernstein 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 Executive
Fowler 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, M.D. Regional VP, Medical Affairs/Chief Medical OfficerKevin Johnson, M.D., 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.
Shane Peng, M.D.President of Physicians’ Organization Service Line Executive, SSM Neurosciences Institute
Shane H. Peng, M.D., was named president for the SSM Health Care – St. Louis Physicians’ Organization in Feb. 2013. His responsibilities include working with physicians and staff on continued improvement in quality, safety and growth of the Physicians’ Organization through exceptional services, as well as strengthening patient, physician, and employee satisfaction. In his role he leads the alignment of affiliated physicians toward effective value-based care in the communities we serve.
Dr. Peng formerly worked for Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Virginia where he led their transformation of care initiatives toward value-based care in positions of increasing responsibility since 2004. He served as the vice president/senior medical director of Sentara Medical Group where he was responsible for the clinical operations of 650+ primary care and ambulatory specialty providers. Dr. Peng implemented over 34 National Committee for Quality Assurance Level III accredited medical home models where the delivery of care was redesigned to achieve high quality, effective patient-centered care. He also steered physician alignment with the Sentara quality clinical network, a clinical integrated network of employed and independent practices formed to improve quality of care in Virginia.
Dr. Peng is board certified in family medicine. He received his medical degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His post graduate medical education was completed at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. He has also been the chair of the Quality Leadership Council for the American Medical Group Association since 2011.
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.
Debbie WalkenhorstRegional Vice President-Human ResourcesSSM Health Care-St. LouisAs regional vice president of human resources, Debbie Walkenhorst provides strategic direction in aligning talent to organizational needs. She began her career with SSM Health Care – St. Louis in 2003 in a position to enhance a regional nursing resource pool to meet the daily staffing needs. Walkenhorst progressed within SSM Health Care – St. Louis Human Resources into her current position of regional vice president of human resources.
Beginning her career as an RN provided Walkenhorst with a strong sense of health care operations and an understanding of providing exceptional direct patient care. She has 20 years of health care human resource experience, specifically in developing strategic partnerships between the function of HR and operational leaders; HR administration; recruitment; employee relations; and assuring the support of organizational change through leadership development and skill building. In her role of regional vice president, Walkenhorst has realigned Human Resources as a regional function and to support consistency, as well as to support the enhancement of the partnership with the operational leaders to assure effective talent management and employee engagement.
As a non-traditional student in the St. Louis metropolitan area, Walkenhorst advanced her education from associate degree at East Central College to an RN diploma graduate of Jewish Hospital School of Nursing. While working full-time, Walkenhorst earned her Bachelor’s degree in nursing from University of Missouri, St. Louis, and her Master’s degree in Nursing Administration from Saint Louis University.
Debbie currently serves on the Nursing Advisory Board of Saint Louis University, as a director on the St. Louis County Workforce Investment Board, and as a director for the foundation of St. Louis Community College.