April 2001

Meet the Leader of St. Vincent Health System

0501SteveMansfield Photo

Stephen Mansfield
President and Chief Executive Officer
St. Vincent Health System
Little Rock, Ark.

As president and chief executive officer of the four-hospital St. Vincent Health System, Stephen Mansfield sees one of his major challenges as restoring a patient-oriented service culture to the hospitals he leads in the midst of a national nursing shortage. "We have focused on improving the retention of our nurses as well as the recruitment of new nurses," he said. "We have successfully reduced annual turnover among our nurses from about 40 percent to less than 15 percent, which had a very positive impact on patient care."

Mansfield joined St. Vincent last spring after serving as administrator and chief executive officer of Baptist Memorial Hospital-East, Memphis, Tenn. He started his health care career as a respiratory therapist, then moved into management and executive positions with several Baptist hospitals in Tennessee and Mississippi. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kan., and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin. Mansfield and his wife, Marilyn, an elementary school teacher, have one daughter, Meredith, who is 12.

One of the things Mansfield appreciates about Catholic Health Initiatives is the combined purchasing power of its market-based organizations. "Catholic Health Initiatives also helped us secure debt financing rates that we could not have achieved on our own," he said. "We also draw on the expertise of the national staff in many areas. But, what may be most important is the congruency of mission throughout Catholic Health Initiatives and the attention the organization gives to mission at the local level."

Locally, St. Vincent lives its mission in a variety of ways. For example, in partnership with the city, the organization operates a free clinic in a low income area of Little Rock. "We also sponsor Volunteers in Medicine, an active group of retired physicians who staff four outreach clinics without compensation," said Mansfield.

"Building a healthier community and watching positive changes come about at St. Vincent help to sustain his energy and enthusiasm. When we see that our work is improving employee, physician and patient satisfaction, as well as our financial performance, it’s very motivating," Mansfield said.