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Health First Names New President & CEO

Steven P. Johnson




Prior experience

Before joining Health First this fall, Johnson previously served as 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 physician 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, which has 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 sub-acute and post-acute settings, and also as Executive Director for a behavioral health managed care company.

Personal information

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.  He and his wife, Cathy, recently moved to this area from Missouri.  They have two adult daughters.

Message from Chairman of the Health First Board of Directors Russell (Rusty) Fischer

“After a thorough and deliberative search for Mike Mean's replacement, the Health First Board of Directors is very pleased to announce this appointment.   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.”

Message from incoming Health First President & CEO Steven Johnson

“Health First is a wonderful organization with a well-deserved reputation for state-of-the-art clinical care delivered with great compassion and respect.   I am convinced that Health First can lead the nation in demonstrating how the health of a community can and should be advanced.

“I am honored to have been selected to continue the work that Mike Means, Larry Garrison, the Board, and the Health First team have so successfully conducted.”

About Health First

Health First has been serving the residents of the Brevard County area since it was founded in 1995, with roots extending back to 1937 when Holmes Regional Medical Center opened as the first hospital in the county.

Today, Health First is the only multi-hospital, not-for-profit health system in Brevard County. This means that every dollar not used to pay for patient care stays in the county to improve healthcare services for all residents, including those without the financial means to pay.  All members of Health First’s Board of Directors reside within its service area and provide oversight for a broad range of services and products including four acute-care hospitals, multiple health plans, a multi-specialty physician group, outpatient diagnostic and treatment centers, a network of fitness and wellness services, and the only Trauma Center in Brevard County.