BLOOMINGTON — As combative leadership styles are being examined nationally, statewide and locally, the new president of OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center describes her approach as collaborative.

"I believe in having conversations," Lynn Fulton told The Pantagraph on Wednesday, 10 days after she succeeded Chad Boore as OSF St. Joseph president.

"Leadership is a conversation," said Fulton. "For me, leadership is having conversations with our mission partners (1,100 full- and part-time employees) and our patients."

St. Joseph had more than 9,000 inpatients and observation patients in the fiscal year that ended in September.

Fulton, 46, who had been president of OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center in Kewanee, said her leadership style has been compared to coaching.

"The way to improve is through feedback," said Fulton, also a wife, mother, runner and avid reader. "I may tell someone, 'That's great, but how can we do this better?' I help people to see where they need to go."

"Lynn has hit the ground running and has a zeal and enthusiasm to learn what we're doing," said Boore, 49, who has been promoted to CEO of OSF HealthCare's Eastern Region that includes McLean, Livingston and DeWitt counties and will include Champaign and Vermilion counties effective Feb. 1.

"She is a great fit for the organization and will be a great fit for the community as well."

Colleen Kannaday, president of Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal and Advocate Eureka Hospital in Eureka, said, "I'm happy to welcome Lynn to the community and look forward to working with her as we both continue to care for the health needs of people in this region."

Fulton noted that St. Joseph was recognized with a patient safety award two weeks ago.

"There is a great team here," said Fulton, who has no plans for administrative restructuring.

Fulton arrived shortly after OSF HealthCare filed plans with the state for a nearly $25 million, 51,000-square-foot medical office building to be located off Washington Street, between Regency Drive and St. Joseph Drive, and after OSF broke ground for a $5 million medical office building (including a PromptCare clinic) at 1765 Bradford Lane, Normal.

The Bloomington location, for physician offices and cardiac specialists, will consolidate primary care offices now at 308 St. Joseph Drive and 1405 Eastland Drive, both Bloomington, and consolidate outpatient cardiovascular services now spread over three offices in Eastland Medical Plazas I and II.

"The new space will allow for growth and will help with recruiting physicians," Boore said.

The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board will consider the building proposal at 10 a.m. Jan. 9 at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. The Normal building is expected to open in July.

"We anticipate announcements of further building projects on our hospital campus and elsewhere in Bloomington-Normal," added Boore. "It reflects back to managing a population's health care and changing the delivery of care to where the patient needs it and that's not the hospital necessarily." 

"There will always be a need for inpatient health care," he said. But health care systems, such as OSF, are focusing on providing a continuum of care, including adapting to better serve people who don't have consistent access to primary care and older adults who wish to age at home.

Fulton, a Macomb native, began her career in banking but transferred to health care administration 16 years ago "because I wanted to connect with people in another way."

She joined Kewanee Hospital in 2001, rose to CEO, led that hospital's integration into the OSF system and was named president when the Kewanee hospital became St. Luke.

Fulton and her husband, Michael, have three children, ages 16, 14 and 10.

"I'm excited to be here in the community and at St. Joseph and am anxious to make this home."

Follow Paul Swiech on Twitter: @pg_swiech

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