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Hedgpeth, 39, commits to completing her career at CoxHealth

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CoxHealth leader Amanda Hedgpeth appears to have her career path set.

Hedgpeth, president of the health care system’s Springfield hospitals, spoke about her work yesterday at Springfield Business Journal's 12 People You Need to Know live interview series. The event was held at The Backlot, Alamo Drafthouse Springfield's restaurant and bar.

It's still relatively early in the career for Hedgpeth, who has been the youngest person in CoxHealth history in her most recent leadership roles.

“You come and you stay and you want to make it better," Hedgpeth, 39, said in the interview with SBJ Executive Editor Christine Temple.

She takes inspiration from mentors such as Karen Kramer, her predecessor, who retired from CoxHealth last year after more than 30 years in health care. Hedgpeth began her career as a budget analyst at CoxHealth in 2005, acccording to past reporting.

The growth of existing employees' leadership and skill sets also is a priority at CoxHealth.

“We have a desire to promote from within when we can," Hedgpeth said.

Still, Hedgpeth said CoxHealth has "seen an accelerated decrease in our workforce" post-COVID-19, as many postponed retirements to stay on the team during a trying time.

"Now, it's time to be supportive to them," she said.

CoxHealth reported 11,651 employees as of July for SBJ’s Economic Impact Awards, down from 12,253 in 2021.

Hedgpeth said promoting a better work-life balance, reconciling the rising costs of care and salaries, improving workforce and raising the quality of care are all goals as she moves forward in the leadership role she took on in February.

"I think a lot of people think that COVID was a windfall for hospitals," she said. "That is not the case."

In an interview for SBJ's recent Economic Impact Awards, Hedgpeth said, "We were losing money every day, but we knew long term we would need that workforce when the pandemic eased.”

"When I think back to early in the pandemic, one of the key decisions we made was to keep our workforce employed even as our business was substantially changing," she said in the July article.

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