A regional president of a Catholic hospital system in Wisconsin who once worked as a registered nurse has been hired as the new chief executive officer of the Springfield-based health system that operates St. John's Hospital.
Mary Starmann-Harrison will start work in April, according to a news release Friday from Hospital Sisters Health System.
"Mary is a recognized leader with outstanding experience in Catholic health care," said Sister Mary Ann Minor, chairwoman of the HSHS Board of Directors.
"I am confident that under her leadership, we will deepen our commitment to Catholic health care," Minor said. "With the latest technology and modern best practices, we will continue our legacy of providing quality care while respecting the individual dignity of each person."
Starmann-Harrison currently serves as regional president and chief executive officer of SSM Health Care of Wisconsin. That system operates St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, St. Clare Hospital & Health Services in Baraboo and other health-care facilities in south-central Wisconsin.
Starmann-Harrison replaces Stephanie McCutcheon, who abruptly left her job in June. Neither she nor HSHS officials would say whether McCutcheon resigned or was fired.
McCutcheon, who was 57 at the time of her departure, came to Springfield in 2006 as the first lay person to lead the health system. She previously was chief executive officer of Bon Secours Health System Inc. of Maryland and a regional vice president at SSM Health Care Saint Louis.
McCutcheon was paid $894,489 by HSHS in the fiscal year ending in June 2009.
HSHS officials did not disclose what Starmann-Harrison will be paid.
St. John's is the flagship hospital for HSHS, which operates a total of 13 hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin, including St. Mary's in Decatur and St. Francis in Litchfield. HSHS employs 14,000 people and posts $1.9 billion in annual operating revenue.
Starmann-Harrison, who is Catholic, began her career in health care in 1979 as an emergency room registered nurse and has served in health-care management since 1980, according to an HSHS news release.
She previously was CEO for Tenet Physician Services and held various leadership roles, including CEO, at St. Luke's Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz.
She was part of SSM Health Care when it received the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award in 2002. SSM was the first health-care entity to receive the prestigious award.
Starmann-Harrison and her husband, Greg, have two children - son Greg and daughter Stephanie.
Larry Schumacher will continue to serve as interim HSHS president and CEO until Starmann-Harrison arrives. Schumacher then will resume his role as chief operating officer of the system.
Dean Olsen can be reached at 788-1543.
Photo: Mary Starmann-Harrison, chief executive officer of Springfield-based Hospital Sisters Health System.