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Jon Swope, below, continues to serve as interim president for Mercy Springfield Communities.
SBJ file photo
Jon Swope, below, continues to serve as interim president for Mercy Springfield Communities.

Months later, Mercy not actively seeking new local leader

Posted online

Eight months after an interim leadership team was installed at Mercy Springfield Communities, the health care system is not actively seeking a new local president, according to an official.

In September, Mercy Central Communities Regional President Jon Swope temporarily took over for Dr. Alan Scarrow. The health system in November issued a news release indicating Scarrow was removed from the president role and that Swope would serve in the interim “for the foreseeable future.” Scarrow stayed on as a full-time neurosurgeon.

In an emailed statement on May 8, Mercy Springfield Communities spokeswoman Sonya Kullmann delivered a similar message.

“There is no search currently underway for a permanent president of Mercy Springfield Communities,” Kullmann said via email. “Jon Swope is serving as the interim president for the foreseeable future.”

Swope took over as interim president during a tumultuous time for Mercy Springfield Communities’ Queen City hospital. 

The Springfield hospital, 1235 E. Cherokee St., came under fire last year over allegations of abuse or neglect of four patients in the emergency and psychiatric departments. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services later rescinded threats to terminate Mercy Hospital Springfield’s Medicare agreement.

“Mercy Hospital Springfield is in full compliance with state and federal standards,” Kullmann said yesterday. “State surveyors, during their last visit, identified some of our processes and procedures as best practices and will be sharing those with organizations across the state.”

While Swope is still in place as interim president for Mercy Springfield Communities, Kullmann confirmed a leadership transition occurred recently.

She said two vice presidents “will no longer be serving as part of the Mercy Springfield leadership team” as part of an organizational structure review. She did not provide the names of the executives or say whether they stayed on in non-leadership roles.

Kullmann said the leadership change took effect at the beginning of April after Mercy officials identified a need for its vice presidents to focus directly on their areas of expertise. 

“In general, the vice presidents whose responsibilities cross both the hospital and clinics are focusing on entire service lines like heart or musculoskeletal,” Kullmann said. “The rest of the vice presidents are focused on either the hospital or the clinic — a traditional model — and are using their expertise to improve things like primary care and emergency care.”

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