Mercy Hospital Springfield brings in interim leadership team soon after firing 12 employees

Mercy Hospital Springfield (Mo.) appointed an interim leadership team, just under a week after firing 12 employees for allegedly mistreating patients.

The terminations were the result of "highly tense situations" in which the fired employees failed to act with "dignity and compassion," hospital spokesperson Sonya Kullmann told Becker's Hospital Review. The hospital was also placed on immediate jeopardy status following an Aug. 25 investigation by the Missouri Department of Health. This move put the hospital's Medicare and Medicaid funding at risk.

The new interim team, which includes leaders from across the four states Mercy serves, will support local leaders as they work on a plan of action to improve patient and employee wellbeing.

The interim team includes:

●    Jon Swope will assume executive leadership for Mercy Springfield Communities, including Mercy Hospital Springfield. He takes over from Alan Scarrow, who will be assuming other responsibilities.

●    Jeff Johnston was appointed interim COO, with Brent Hubbard remaining involved. Mr. Johnston is president of Mercy's communities in the greater St. Louis area.

●    Di Smalley, RN, president of Mercy's communities in Oklahoma, will support Dea Geujen in overseeing nursing teams.

●    Cynthia Mercer will work with Tanya Marion to support education and co-worker relations. Ms. Mercer is chief administrative officer for Chesterfield, Mo.-based Mercy.

●    Marc Gunter, MD, senior vice president and COO for St. Louis-based Mercy Clinic, will work with Rob Cavagnol, MD, to support providers.

●    Keith Starke, MD, Mercy's chief quality officer, and his team will offer their expertise and provide support to the team at Mercy Hospital Springfield.

"I can't say enough about this interim team’s generosity in volunteering to leave their families and regular work to focus on helping us. They bring a fresh perspective and will help bolster local resources," said Mr. Swope. "I'm also humbled by the long hours and tireless efforts our local leaders have provided during the past several weeks."

Editor's note: This article was updated Sept. 13.

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