SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- For the first time, a physician will lead Mercy Hospital Springfield health systems. The change comes with the retirement of regional president Kim Day, who earned praise for how he kept employees on the payroll and working after the tornado in Joplin destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center in 2011.
Mercy Springfield is the largest employer in the Springfield metro area. It has more than 9,000 employees at the hospital and associated buildings, including clinics, surgery center, sports medicine center, cancer center, heart institute, behavioral health center, nursing college, medical research, fitness center and sports training center.
After the tornado destroyed the hospital in Joplin on May 22, 2011, Mercy kept most of the 1,800 employees there working by moving some to Springfield and other regional facilities. It also helped its employees who lost their homes and possessions. St. John's (now Mercy Hospital Joplin) reopened as a 60-bed field hospital in tents just six days after the tornado. Three months later, it replaced that with a modular hospital. Last year, it opened a full-service replacement hospital and is now rebuilding the hospital in two new locations in Joplin.
Here’s Mercy news release on Thursday:
Jon Swope has been named regional president for Mercy’s central communities in Arkansas, southwest Missouri and Kansas, and Dr. Robert Steele was named president of Mercy Hospital Springfield. Kim Day, current regional president for Mercy’s central communities, will retire after a 37-year career in health care.
“We have had a history of excellent leadership in Mercy’s central communities,” said Mike McCurry, Mercy’s chief operating officer. “We have been truly blessed and our strong ministry will continue as Mercy has two talented successors in place to make this change.”
Swope, current president and CEO of Mercy Springfield Communities, has invested 33 years with Mercy, serving in Mercy communities in southwest Missouri, St. Louis, Washington and Kansas. Dr. Steele, who has been a practicing pediatrician for 15 years, will be the first physician to step into the role of hospital president at Mercy Springfield (formerly St. John’s Hospital).
Day, who will retire from full-time service March 1, will continue in a consulting capacity with a few ongoing projects. Day joined Mercy in 2000 as chief financial officer at St. John’s in Springfield. His vision and collaboration was instrumental in making the newly restructured health system a successful model of integration.