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Mercy execs retire early in response to pandemic

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Last edited 12:20 p.m., May 19, 2020

Jon Swope and Dr. Fred McQueary, two executives who have shaped Mercy's Springfield-area operations, plan to retire early to help the health care system "navigate the difficult financial terrain ahead," according to a news release issued this afternoon.

Swope, president of Mercy Central Region who recently also worked for two years leading Mercy Springfield Communities, and McQueary, chief clinical officer for the health care system, are slated to exit at the end of June. Their ages and the expected cost savings from their retirements were not provided in the release, and a request for comment was not returned.

“These leaders have served Mercy well over so many years,” said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of St. Louis-based Mercy, in the release. “Our ministry is richer for their service and their sacrificial leadership at a crucial time.”

The early retirement announcements came shortly after Mercy began systemwide furloughs and layoffs. Mercy spokesperson Sonya Kullmann earlier this month provided a statement confirming an unspecified number of cuts. The statement indicates the furloughs could last through the end of July.

"In addition to these measures, all leaders will earn up to 26% less this year than last, with the most significant reductions at the senior level," the statement reads.

Swope's recent leadership in Springfield came at a time of instability for the health care system, even before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

He took over at Mercy Springfield Communities in an interim capacity in fall 2017, amid allegations of patient safety infractions and a federal investigation. Former President Dr. Alan Scarrow was ousted from his position during that time, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. While the coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted operations, Mercy last year pointed to some $150 million in southwest Missouri capital projects that were in the works.

To succeed Swope, Mercy recently announced the hiring of Craig McCoy as president of Mercy Springfield Communities.

McQueary, who's also an executive vice president for Mercy, helped build Springfield’s integrated orthopedic group. An orthopedic surgeon for 34 years, McQueary was a founding member of the Mercy Clinic in 1993, according to the release.

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