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Transition at the top of SSM Health Care staff


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SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center - one of the hospitals in SSM Health Care's St. Louis-area group of medical facilities.

For the first time in its 25-year history, SSM Health Care no longer has a nun as its top executive officer.

Sister Mary Jean Ryan will remain as chairman of the board of SSM. But she says she's reaching an age, 73, when she would prefer to step away from the day-to-day operations of the system, which owns 15 hospitals and two nursing homes in four states, including Missouri.

The transition will keep her busy, but Sister Mary Jean says she'll miss daily interaction with SSM staff.

"We have the finest people that I've ever worked with, or had the privilege of knowing and working with," Sister Mary Jean said.

Bill Thompson, the system's chief operating officer, takes over as chief executive today.

The transition has been planned for almost two years, so Sister Mary Jean says she doesn't expect much to change.

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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