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Former Metro East hospital head takes job with Optum

By DENNIS GRUBAUGH, The Illinois Business Journal

Patti Fischer has moved on from her post as president and CEO of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, acknowledging today that she has been named vice president of Inpatient Care Transformation at Optum.

Optum Inc. is an American pharmacy benefit manager and health-care provider. It has been a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group since 2011.

Fischer has had a long career in public health. She was CEO at St. Elizabeth’s from May 2018 until last month.

Fischer referred questions to an HSHS spokeswoman who released this statement:

“Patti Fischer resigned her role of president and CEO of HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital with her last day being Nov. 12, 2021. Local and System leadership noted that Patti has been a strong leader in various roles at HSHS and has contributed to many successes during her time with our organization especially leading through an unprecedented pandemic.”

Brandon Fish, the current executive director of operations at St. Elizabeth’s, is serving as interim CEO while system leadership conduct a search for a permanent replacement.

Previously, Fischer was chief operating officer at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield; and before that president and CEO of St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield.

Her longest stay was the 20 years she spent with Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Alton, which is now known as OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center.  She rose to the position of vice president of OSF Saint Anthony’s, after serving in multiple roles beginning in 1994, according to her LinkedIn profile.

She originally got a Registered Nurse degree at St. Luke’s Hospital, and followed that up with a BBA in Finance at Florida Atlantic University in 1988 and an MBA at Washington University in St. Louis – Olin Business School in 1994.

What she will now be doing

Fischer said she will be working on a new, innovative collaboration  between SSM Health and Optum. The initiative, announced in October, focuses on making quality care more accessible and affordable for people across the Midwest.

“Together, the organizations will work to improve the overall well-being of individuals and communities – while addressing the complex social and economic factors affecting each person’s health,” the release said.

SSM Health and Optum will partner across certain functions – including inpatient care management, digital transformation and revenue cycle management – to improve health outcomes and patients’ health care experiences. The organizations also will collaborate to redefine the consumer health care journey through the design and development of a seamless digital experience to simplify patient access to the care and services they need.

“Creating a new ecosystem of care requires bringing together the best and the brightest to collaborate for the common good,” said Laura S. Kaiser, FACHE, president and chief executive officer, SSM Health. “The commitment of UnitedHealth Group and Optum to improving health care experiences and outcomes for everyone aligns well with SSM Health’s Mission to ensure all people have access to high-quality, compassionate and affordable care. We are excited to partner with them to achieve our vision of transforming health care in America – and address the health equity gap for the most vulnerable in society.”

To help advance health equity, UnitedHealth Group and SSM Health will jointly invest in vital community health programs to ensure the disadvantaged and vulnerable have equal access to quality health care services. These efforts will focus on closing the health equity gap and critical health priorities in the communities SSM Health serves throughout the Midwest.

“We are thrilled to partner with SSM Health to advance a next-generation holistic approach to health that empowers all people to lead their healthiest lives,” said Dan Schumacher, chief strategy and growth officer of UnitedHealth Group. “This new relationship further builds on Optum’s support of local care systems across the country to enhance affordable, patient-centric care that is easy to access, sustainable and high-quality.”

To better serve the health-care needs of people across the Midwestern communities SSM Health serves, SSM Health and Optum will:

  • Use clinical technologies, advanced analytic tools and delivery of data-driven insights at the point of care to reduce care variation and co-develop an inpatient care delivery model that improves quality and patient outcomes, while reducing unnecessary costs.
  • Implement new and best-in-class technologies to innovate and streamline the billing experience for patients and providers and accelerate SSM Health’s progress to market-leading patient satisfaction across all revenue cycle operations.
  • Advance consumer engagement by designing a seamless digital experience that spans the patient journey. This will simplify patient access to the care and services they need, improving their experiences and resulting in stronger provider-patient relationships, increased patient loyalty and lower costs.


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