Hospital Sisters Health System has named Peggy A. Sebastian as president and CEO of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville.
Sebastian is currently president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland. She will begin her new role at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital on Jan. 18.
“I’m very excited and I plan to hold community forums and be a good listener and learner,” Sebastian said. “I believe listening and learning from the community is how we will know if we are meeting their needs.”
Shelley Harris, the chief nursing officer at St. Elizabeth’s, has been serving as interim CEO since former president and chief executive officer Maryann Reese resigned at the end of July. Reese, who had been CEO of St. Elizabeth’s since January 2011, accepted a new position as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Saint Francis Health System in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
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Reese’s departure came shortly after St. Elizabeth’s won approval from the state to relocate from Belleville to a new $253 million campus medical campus along Interstate 64 and Green Mount Road in O’Fallon. The move drew criticism from many in Belleville, and the city filed a lawsuit to try and stop it. The suit is currently pending. Critics said the hospital was simply trying to move to a more affluent area. Hospital officials denied that. Construction of the new facility is ongoing with completion expected at the end of 2017.
As a nurse with more than 35 years of experience in health care administration, she has a proven track record of fostering physician alignments and partnerships, developing new health care facilities and boosting satisfaction levels among patients, colleagues and physician partners.
Mary Starmann-Harrison, president and CEO of Hospital Sisters Health System
“In her new role (Sebastian) will continue her career-long commitment to patient service and quality,” said Mary Starmann-Harrison, president and CEO of Hospital Sisters Health System, which owns both St. Joseph’s and St. Elizabeth’s, as well as 12 other hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin. “As a nurse with more than 35 years of experience in health care administration, she has a proven track record of fostering physician alignments and partnerships, developing new health care facilities and boosting satisfaction levels among patients, colleagues and physician partners.”
Sebastian said she felt her skill set was a good match for what St. Elizabeth needs. “I realized over the last couple of months that this would be a good fit for me. Although I am a nurse, I’ve had the calling to do construction. It’s a skill set I have developed over time.”
As the president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital since 2009, Sebastian oversaw the facility’s capital construction project to relocate, build and open the $63 million replacement hospital and medical office building.
In all, Sebastian said she’s been involved in the design of four new hospitals and the construction of three hospitals during her healthcare career.
“It would be good to help with the build in O’Fallon,” she said.
Although I am a nurse, I’ve had the calling to do construction. It’s a skill set I have developed over time.
Peggy Sebastian, current president of St. Joseph’s in Highland and future CEO of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville
Sebastian acknowledged the tension that exists between the Belleville hospital and some city officials and community members regarding the decision to relocate the hospital to O’Fallon. However, she said she hopes to move past it in the future.
“I’m going to engage the same community leaders as I did here in Highland,” she said.
Sebastian, who is an avid golfer and outdoor enthusiast, currently lives in Highland with her husband Tom Jacobson, who works for the Army Corps. of Engineer. They plan to relocate to O’Fallon in the near future. Sebastian has two adult stepchildren.
“The hospital sisters really believe the CEO needs to be active in the community,” she said.
Bill Sullivan, chairman of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Board, said Sebastian has been a great asset to the hospital and the community.
“She will be greatly missed but we know that she will continue to be an asset to us as she leads our largest hospital in the HSHS Southern Illinois Division,” Sullivan said. “Over the past six years, Peggy has completed a financial turnaround of St. Joseph’s Hospital, added many new services and programs, as well as successfully led the design and building of the new St. Joseph’s Hospital. She will now take those talents to our sister hospital, St. Elizabeth’s, to implement the changes and growth that will be needed to make their new hospital a success, as well. As our tertiary hospital for transfers and referrals, the success of St. Elizabeth’s is critical to our success. Peggy is the right person for this job and we look forward to working with her in a new capacity.”
Sebastian said she will miss her Highland family. “The colleagues and community of Highland are like a family,” she said. “They have supported me and the hospital for the past six years, and that is something I hold dear to me.”
There will be a search for a new CEO at St. Joseph’s, said Amy Liefer, the hospital’s director of communications.
“The interim plan for leadership has not been announced yet. We anticipate hearing something before Christmas,” Liefer said.
About Peggy Sebastian
- 2009-Present: President and CEO of HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland
- 2008: President and CEO of Sebastian Group LLC, a health care consulting company specializing in new facility construction and operational planning execution
- 2006-2008: Chief patient care officer for Rogers Behavioral Health System in Wisconsin and as vice president in charge of operations at the 275-bed Mercy Hospital in Janesville, Wis.
- Before joining Mercy: Served as assistant administrator at Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru, Ill., and as assistant administrator at Herrin Hospital in Southern Illinois.
- 1992-1994: Director of professional affairs for the Illinois Hospital Association
Direct patient care experience
- Order of St. Francis at St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Ill.
- OSF at St. James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac, Ill.
- OSF at St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Ill.
- OSF at Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton, Ill.
- OSF at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley, Ill.
- Master of science in nursing from Loyola University in Chicago
- Master’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University in Normal
- Bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Illinois-Chicago
- Highland Chamber of Commerce
- Board of directors for the Madison County Child Advocacy Center in Wood River