Jay Guffey pivoted to management early in his career, and he hasn’t looked back.
The current CEO of Mercy Rehabilitation Hospital Springfield started four decades ago as an emergency medical technician for Springfield’s Safety Ambulance Co. That lasted for two years, and ever since, he’s been in management roles, mostly for Mercy.
Guffey in February returned to Mercy after serving a year as vice president of administration for Jordan Valley Community Health Center.
Mercy Springfield Communities President Jon Swope credits Guffey’s early on-the-ground health care experience with his ability to lead as an administrator in the industry.
“I believe that experience continues to shape how he has cared for patients since taking a variety of roles in hospital administration. He always puts the patient first,” Swope says. “Jay Guffey has dedicated his life to improving health care for everyone in the Ozarks.”
In 2004, Guffey led Mercy’s clinical team in developing and implementing electronic health records. The team delivered the new system on time and under budget, he says.
“In the past, a patient could have duplicate tests performed because the information was not available at the time the clinician needed it,” Guffey says. “Now, the information moves faster and reduces unnecessary steps so they are cared for more efficiently.”
In his current role, Guffey is in charge of a 60-bed hospital that in 2017 ranked in the top 6 percent of rehab hospitals by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation. That’s up from the top 10 percent previously.
Guffey says the hospital’s goal is to get patients ready to regain or manage the tasks of daily living. That extends to the rehab hospital’s staff working with the patients and their families to provide knowledge and tools for when the patient returns home.
“My role as the CEO is to support the front-line team providing this care and working to make sure our services are delivered at the highest level of quality care possible,” Guffey says. “Health care is always changing and improving over time. Our services continue to expand, and we are incorporating new models of care to be used locally for the patients we serve.”
Guffey’s influence also has extended to community collaboration projects, such as the University of Missouri School of Medicine clinical campus in Springfield, the Healthy Living Alliance and the Greater Ozarks Centers for Advanced Professional Studies, also known as GO CAPS.
“It is my belief that the most effective way to improve care in southwest Missouri is to work collaboratively in providing the care and services we deliver,” he says.
For example, take his work with the Healthy Living Alliance, a partnership between the city, Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Mercy, CoxHealth, Burrell Behavioral Health and the Jordan Valley Community Health Center.
As part of the partnership, Guffey has worked to establish coordinated behavioral health services.
“This work is ongoing and will ultimately result in bringing together a plan to improve behavioral health care in our community,” he says.
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