ROCKLEDGE, FL - Russell (Rusty) Fischer, Chairman of the Health First Board announced today that Steven P. Johnson has been selected to be the new President & CEO to fill the role of the system's founder and top executive Michael Means, who will retire at the end of 2011. Fischer noted that Johnson will begin his leadership duties at Health First in September, providing a period of overlap through the end of the year as he and Means work together to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.
Johnson is currently the President of Hospital Operations for SSM Health Care - St. Louis, a seven-hospital system based in Missouri. SSM Health Care (SSMHC) is a faith-based, not-for-profit health system that owns and operates 16 acute-care hospitals, one children's hospital, two long-term care facilities, and other ancillary healthcare businesses. SSMHC employs 23,000 employees within the four-state area of Missouri, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Illinois. SSM Health Care - St. Louis, a division of SSMHC, is comprised of seven hospitals, a Managed Care organization, and a Physicians' organization with more than 150 employed physicians within three medical groups.
Age 56, Johnson has served in several capacities with SSMHC since he was selected as Vice President of SSM Behavioral Health Services in 1997. Six years later, in 2003, Johnson was promoted to President of both the Rehabilitation and Behavioral Health Services in the region. In 2007, he was asked to serve as President of DePaul Health Center, a 460-bed hospital within the SSM system. He was subsequently appointed to his current role as President of Hospital Operations for the region with revenues of $1.5 billion.
Johnson first began his career as a clinical psychologist and then moved to the administrative side of that business serving as Administrator for a state-run residential rehabilitation center. He later served as Regional Vice President for a rehabilitation services company that provided healthcare services in the sub-acute and post-acute settings, and also was Executive Director for a behavioral health managed care company.
"After a thorough and deliberative search for Mike's replacement, the Health First Board of Directors is very pleased to announce this appointment," said Fischer. "Steve Johnson brings to our organization 30 years of clinical and management experience, a proven track record of successfully bringing together a diverse healthcare system, and a commitment to improving the health of the entire community we serve."
Johnson holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Puget Sound (WA), as well as a Master's degree in Human Development and a Doctoral degree in Psychology, both from the University of Kansas. Johnson and his wife, Cathy, will be relocating to Florida from Missouri. They have two adult daughters.
Johnson and his wife look forward to joining the Health First team and becoming a part of the Brevard community. "Health First is a wonderful organization with great well deserved reputation for state-of-the-art clinical care delivered with great compassion and respect," said Johnson. "I am convinced that Health First can lead the nation in demonstrating how the health of a community can and should be advanced."