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OSF's Steffen announces plan to retire

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One OSF Council Keith Steffen-4

Keith Steffen, CEO of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center for 17 years, will retire at the end of the year, OSF Healthcare announced Wednesday.

Steffen, 66, who has been with the hospital for 34 years, said it was time for a change. “After almost 34 years at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, 17 as the CEO, and having turned 66 in April, it is time to move to the next chapter of my life,” he said.  

The Peoria native who was born at St. Francis in 1948, will remain on the job until his replacement is named so as to ensure a smooth transition, the OSF Healthcare news release said.

Kevin Schoeplein, CEO of OSF HealthCare, said Steffen’s contributions to not only OSF Saint Francis and OSF HealthCare, but also the community, are significant.

“Keith embodied the mission of our Sisters and worked hard to have that be part of every interaction the medical center staff had with patients and families,” he said. “His positive impact on health care in Peoria and throughout central Illinois will be felt for decades to come. His work has helped preserve health and save lives for thousands and thousands of people.”

Steffen completed his undergraduate degree at Illinois State University and began his health care career in 1973 as assistant director of human resources at St. Vincent Medical Center in Indianapolis. After completing his masters’ of health care administration degree at Indiana University School of Medicine, he became vice president of operations at Brokaw Hospital (now BroMenn Medical Center) in Normal.

He joined OSF Saint Francis as a vice president in 1980 and became president and CEO in 1996. As a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, he was named Leader of the Year in 2002.

During his tenure at OSF Saint Francis, Steffen was involved in the introduction of numerous medical and health care innovations for central Illinois, including:

  • Installation of the first CT scanner in Central Illinois and the second MRI in the Illinois.
  • Installation of the first lithotripter (kidney stone crusher) in Illinois, the 13th in the U.S.
  • Established kidney, pancreas, and heart transplant programs.
  • Expanded the Life Flight medical air ambulance program, now the busiest transport program in Illinois.
  • Implemented the 6 Sigma process improvement program.
  • Developed a robotic surgery program.
  • Installed the Gamma Knife laser treatment for neck and head tumors.
  • Developed the Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy program for treatment of cancers.
  • Developed the Illinois Neurological Institute under the leadership of Dr. Patrick Elwood.
  • Expanded the Children’s Hospital of Illinois as a hospital within a hospital.
  • The Center for Health-Route 91 built in north Peoria in 2000, the medical center’s first comprehensive outpatient facility that includes surgery, diagnostic services, PromptCare, the Susan G. Komen Breast Center, and physician offices.
  • Four primary care sites established in Morton, East Peoria, Washington, and north Peoria to provide greater access to care for outpatient and primary care physician services
  • The Milestone Building project, completed in 2010, consolidating most of the Children’s Hospital services to one location. The $280 million, 440,000-square foot expansion also included new and expanded emergency, surgical, and cardiac care services
  • The Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center, opened in 2013, a collaboration with the University of Illinois College of Medicine

“I loved being personally and directly involved for many of those new, innovative, high tech services that were previously not available in Peoria,” Steffen said. “But just as important were the construction projects that allowed OSF Saint Francis to expand health care locally and regionally.” 

Some of those projects include:

During his tenure, Steffen focused on the cultural transformation of the medical center which involves staff, patients, and families being directly impacted by the OSF Mission, traditions and values of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. “Being part of a faith-based organization has been an incredible experience. The Sisters are wonderful to work for and with. I have learned that, in spite of change in the health care landscape, the focus has to be on the Mission that has remained unchanged for 137 years,” he said.

 “I have also been enormously blessed to have been surrounded by an incredible leadership team, medical staff and Community Advisory Board. Their support in the development of so many new services and programs has kept OSF Saint Francis a leader. I can’t thank them enough,” he added.  

Steffen serves or has served on the board of directors for many local organizations, including Allied Agencies, Children’s Home Association of Illinois, Easter Seals Central Illinois, Illinois Hospital Association Board of Trustees, Illinois State University College of Business Advisory Council, Peoria Area United Way, Peoria CEO Roundtable and Tri-County Arthritis Foundation.

Steffen and his wife Cathy have four children and 14 grandchildren.