Steven C. Bjelich, FACHE-D
President and Chief Executive Officer
Steven C. Bjelich, FACHE-D, is a recognized leader in healthcare with significant experience in strategic planning, operations and finance. As President and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Francis Healthcare System, he implements Saint Francis Medical Center’s vision and strategic plan, as developed in collaboration with the Board of Directors, medical staff leadership and community leaders. Bjelich also provides leadership and direction in ensuring the efficient, economical and effective utilization of resources to meet the identified needs of the Southeast Missouri region through quality medical care and health services.
Bjelich has more than 30 years of extensive healthcare experience at the senior management level, previously serving as President and Chief Executive Officer at St. Francis Hospital and Healthcare Services, Wilmington, Del.; Executive Director at Wyoming Valley Health Care System, Kingston, Pa.; Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer at Saints Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, Louisville, Ky.; and Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer at North Hollywood Medical Center, North Hollywood, Calif.
Bjelich is a member of the Board of Directors, Government Relations Committee and Legislative Advisory Committee for the Missouri Hospital Association. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Bjelich has a Master of Health Administration from Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Ind., and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
Tony A. Balsano
Vice President – Finance
As Vice President – Finance, Tony A. Balsano oversees the financial operations of Saint Francis Medical Center. A certified public account, he joined the Saint Francis Family in 1989; however, his career in healthcare finance started earlier, while a manager at an accounting firm with many healthcare clients.
Balsano is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Ill. He is a member of the American Institute of Public Accountants, Healthcare Compliance Association, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and an advanced member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Balsano is a member of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Finance Committee of the United Way, City of Cape Girardeau Investment Committee and the Poplar Bluff Medical Partners Board of Directors.
Marilyn K. Curtis, MSA
Vice President – Professional Services
Marilyn K. Curtis, MSA, Vice President – Professional Services oversees strategic and performance operations for the Emergency Services and the Gene E. Huckstep Emergency Center/Level III Trauma Center, Cancer Institute; occupational health services; Fitness Plus – a nationally award-winning, medically integrated fitness center; laboratory services; radiology services; inpatient and retail pharmacies; materials management and other ancillary services. Curtis joined the Saint Francis Family in 1980, where she climbed the ranks and earned increasing responsibility from her position as a medical technologist. Prior to joining Saint Francis, she held positions at healthcare facilities across the nation.
Curtis is a member of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, graduate of the Leadership Cape Program, member of the Cape Girardeau County Rotary Club, associate in the American College of Healthcare Executives and past elder of the First Christian Church – Disciples of Christ. She earned a Master of Healthcare Administration from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and a Bachelor of Science in laboratory technology from The University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla.
Rick Essner, CHFM
Director of Facilities Management
As Director of Facilities Management, Rick Essner, CHFM, oversees the day-to-day infrastructural requirements of facility compliance, maintenance and operations. He is also responsible for planning and coordinating renovation and expansion projects, such as Saint Francis Medical Center’s $84 million combined Heart Hospital and Cancer Institute and the expansion of the Gene E. Huckstep Emergency Center/Level III Trauma Center. Essner has more than 20 years of healthcare facility management experience.
Essner is a member of the Missouri Society of Healthcare Facility Management, the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, the Missouri Hospital Association, the National Fire Protection Association and the American Hospital Association. He is a certified healthcare facility manager by the American Hospital Association. Essner earned a dual Bachelor of Science degree in industrial technology and fine arts from Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Jeannette Fadler, RN
Vice President – Patient Care Services
Jeannette Fadler, RN, Vice President – Patient Care Services draws on her wealth of nursing experience to ensure Saint Francis Medical Center’s patients receive very good care every day. She oversees the clinical operations for the Family BirthPlace, the region’s first Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; Heart Hospital; Neurosciences Institute; the Thomas G. Otto, MD, Orthopedics Institute; Rehabilitation Services; Surgical Services medical/surgical patient care unit and respiratory care. Fadler joined the Saint Francis Family in 1973 as a nurse, and her dedication to patient care and hard work have led her to rise through the ranks of patient care leadership.
Fadler’s professional affiliations include the American Nurses Association, Missouri Nurses Association, 8th District Nurses Association, Lambda Theta Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, American Organization of Nurse Executives, Missouri Organization of Nurse Leaders and Rotary International. She has served as a consultant to various organizations, has given numerous presentations and has been published in national journals. She currently serves on the Mid-America Transplant Services Board of Directors and is secretary for the Community Counseling Center Foundation Board. Fadler is also a member of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce Board and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Alex Ogburn, MBA
Director of Physician Recruitment and Occupational Health Services
Since joining Saint Francis Medical Center in 2004, Alex Ogburn, MBA, has been responsible for physician recruitment planning and operations. As Director, Physician Recruitment, Ogburn is responsible for bringing new physicians to the Southeast Missouri region, overseeing practice transition and startup and working to integrate those physicians into the medical community at large. In his dual role, Ogburn oversaw the acquisition and practice transition of a large rural health provider, Immediate Convenient Care, and now oversees the ongoing operation of the practice as an affiliate of Saint Francis Healthcare System. Ogburn originally joined Saint Francis as a Physician Referral Services Manager, where he was a vital player in developing the physician outreach program for existing medical staff and referring physicians in the secondary and tertiary service areas.
Ogburn’s career began as a Search Consultant with Merritt, Hawkins & Associates® in Irving, Texas, and progressed to Director of Recruiting, Regional Director of Recruiting and Vice President of Recruiting with the Allied Consulting division. Ogburn graduated from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and holds a Master of Business Administration with a healthcare management concentration through William Woods University, Fulton, Mo. He holds membership in the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, is Vice President of Gibson Recovery Center, Inc. Board of Directors and serves on the Board of Directors of the Southeast Missouri Chapter of the Medical Group Management Association. Ogburn is also a recipient of the Saint Francis Mission Award.
James A. Schell II, MD, MHA, FACP
Vice President – Medical Affairs
As Vice President – Medical Affairs, James A. Schell, II, MD, MHA, FACP, oversees Saint Francis Medical Center’s medical and administrative functions, including physician credentialing and recruitment, incorporating the latest medical advancements and continuing Saint Francis Medical Center’s superior reputation for clinical quality.
Prior to joining the Saint Francis Family, Schell was the medical director for a 450-bed acute care facility with a 741-member medical staff in the St. Louis metropolitan area. He practiced internal medicine in both hospital-based and private-practice settings for 15 years and has served as medical director for many organizations in the healthcare industry, including insurance groups, medical centers and Missouri Medicare Services.
Schell is a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Physician Executives, the Missouri State Medical Association and the Cape Girardeau County Area Medical Society. He is also a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. Schell earned his medical degree and his Master of Health Administration from the University of Missouri–Columbia, Columbia, Mo., and did his internal medicine residency at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, Mo.
Barbara W. Thompson
Vice President – Marketing and Public Relations
As Vice President – Marketing and Public Relations, Barbara W. Thompson oversees Saint Francis Medical Center’s strategic marketing and communications efforts, from positioning the Medical Center as the premier healthcare facility in the five-state region to handling crisis communications.
After identifying a need for strategic marketing in the healthcare industry in 1981, Thompson established The Roberts Group, Inc., a strategic communications, marketing and advertising agency in Waukesha, Wis. Since then, healthcare organizations across the country have benefited from her communications expertise and strategies. In addition to her leadership role at Saint Francis, she serves as president of The Roberts Group.
Thompson is also a Fellow in the Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Society, a member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development, and frequently called upon to speak at state and national conferences. A journalism graduate of Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis., Thompson has additional course work in education, marketing, quality control and business.