Editorial

Saint Francis CEO Bjelich receives top honor

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Earlier this month, Saint Francis Healthcare System president and CEO Steven Bjelich was recognized by the Missouri Hospital Association for more than four decades in the health-care field.

Bjelich, who's been the president and CEO at Saint Francis since 1999, was awarded the organization's highest honor on Nov. 3 -- the 2016 Distinguished Service Award.

The award "is meant to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to health care, Missouri hospitals and the communities they serve," according to a report by Southeast Missourian reporter Bridget Brown.

What a wonderful accolade for Bjelich, who told Brown that the award showed a team effort between SFHS's board of directors, medical staff, executive team and employees.

"It's a privilege to be a part of this team," Bjelich said.

Bjelich, chairman of the MHA Strategic Quality Advisory Committee and MHA board of trustees member, previously received the MHA Visionary leader Award in 2010.

During his time at Saint Francis, the medical center grown quite drastically both physically -- with its campus expanding from 340,000 to 1.4 million square feet, which includes an $84 million Heart Hospital and Cancer Institute as well as the recent construction project "Building on Excellence" that added a five-story patient tower and the Women and Children's Pavilion -- and personnel-wise -- with about 2,800 employees, up from 1,103.

"Steve Bjelich has changed the face of health care in the region Saint Francis serves. His leadership has taken Saint Francis from small hospital on the hill to a leading health-care system," Don Kaverman, chairman of the board at SFHS, said in a news release. "The board of directors has guided Saint Francis through its growth with an exceptional president and chief executive officer. We are pleased the Missouri Hospital Association shares our recognition of his service."

Congratulations to Bjelich on his award and the impressive evolution of the Saint Francis Healthcare System.

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