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E.J. Kuiper, shown at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital in August 2018, is the HSHS Central Illinois division president and CEO. He will now lead HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield on a permanent basis. 

SPRINGFIELD — The man who recently led HSHS St. Mary's Hospital on an interim basis has now been named president and chief executive officer of HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield.

E.J. Kuiper, president and CEO of the Central Illinois division of Hospital Sisters Health System, had held the St. John's position on an interim basis since the Oct. 31 resignation of Dr. Charles Lucore. 

Kuiper, 51, will continue in his role as Central Illinois division CEO, doing both jobs simultaneously from this point on, St. John's spokeswoman Erica Johnson said.

He had also served as interim president and CEO of St. Mary's from July to April 1, when Michael Hicks began in the Decatur position

"I am honored to continue in this leadership role at HSHS St. John's Hospital," Kuiper said Tuesday in a news release. "I hope to continue building relationships with our colleagues and medical staff in the Springfield community that will allow us to enhance all aspects of health care for our patients."

Kuiper's new job as both St. John's CEO and divisional CEO takes effect immediately, Johnson said. Kuiper has been an HSHS divisional CEO since 2013.

This is the first time the Central Illinois division leader will also be the permanent CEO of St. John's, the flagship institution of Hospital Sisters Health System that has 415 beds and 2,800 workers.

In addition to St. John's and St. Mary's, the division also includes HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield and HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville.

The decision by the boards of HSHS and St. John's to select Kuiper after a nationwide search wasn't done to save costs on executive salaries, Johnson said. She wouldn't disclose Kuiper's salary.

Kuiper, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born and raised in the Netherlands, joined not-for-profit HSHS after various executive roles at for-profit Hospital Corporation of America in southwest Florida. He later was president and CEO of OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Health Center in Alton.

Kuiper, who with his wife, Patty, have three grown children, received his bachelor's degree in physical therapy in the Netherlands. He went on to earn a master's in health-care administration from Florida Gulf Coast University and a clinical doctorate degree in physical therapy from the University of St. Augustine.

Lucore, the first physician CEO of St. John's, left after 4½ years as the hospital's leader to head a Catholic institution near New York City, St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York.

Lucore said last year that the decision to leave was "in the best interests of my family" and "also a positive step professionally."

The cardiologist and native of Cheshire, Connecticut, said last year that he and his wife raised three children in Springfield and lived here almost 30 years. He said the couple looked forward to being closer to family members in the Northeast.

St. Francis' heart program is even larger than the program operated by St. John's, he said.

Lucore, 61, joined the Springfield-based Prairie Cardiovascular physician group in 1992 after being recruited by Prairie's founder, the late Dr. Jim Dove. Lucore previously practiced as a cardiologist at St. Louis' Washington University School of Medicine, where he completed a cardiology fellowship.

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