ST. LOUIS – Independent physician group Esse Health has hired Derrick O’Connell, RN, MBA, LSSBB, to serve as the company’s Chief Quality Officer. CEO Michael Castellano made the announcement.

“Derrick brings to Esse Health a proven track record in improving the quality of care patients receive,” said Castellano. “We look forward to having Derrick help us accelerate our quest to become a certified medical home and continue our efforts as a high-performing health care leader in St. Louis.”

As Chief Quality Officer, O’Connell will facilitate and lead quality and performance improvement efforts and projects, working closely with Esse Health’s Quality Assurance Director Filippo Ferrigni, M.D. O’Connell joins Esse Health most recently from Washington, Mo.-based Patients First Health Care, where he helped the company achieve NCQA Level III Patient-Centered Medical Home certification and qualify for CMS Meaningful Use Stage 1 electronic health records incentives. His other accomplishments at Patients First include developing a quality improvement plan for ambulatory care and evidence-based medical guidelines for clinical practice, among others.

O’Connell earned his bachelor’s degree in health management from Sienna Heights University before graduating from DeVry University with his Master of Business Administration. A registered nurse, O’Connell has been in health care for 29 years. He received his Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in 2011 from Villanova University. Lean Six Sigma Black Belt graduates master techniques and strategies to improve productivity and reduce waste.

Esse Health is an independent, St. Louis-based physician group that strives to improve the overall well-being of its patients through patient education, lifestyle modification and prevention. With 32 locations throughout the St. Louis and Metro East area, Esse Health’s services include asthma, allergy and immunology, family medicine, internal medicine, nutrition, pediatrics, radiology and urology. Esse Health is recognized as a leader in using technology in health care and physician accountability for both quality and cost-of-care. For more information on Esse Health, visit