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Published on August 23, 2012

Vice Chancellor Williamson Announces Leadership Transition At MU Health Care

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Harold A. Williamson Jr., M.D., vice chancellor of the University of Missouri Health System, today (Aug. 23) announced the retirement of James H. Ross, chief executive officer of University of Missouri Health Care, effective Dec. 31.

“Jim Ross has left a legacy of truly stellar accomplishments for us to build upon,” Williamson said. “These accomplishments include leading MU Health Care on a journey that resulted in the health system’s being named as one of two top hospitals in Missouri by U.S. News and World Report. In addition, under the leadership of Jim Ross, MU Health Care has earned “Most Wired” hospital status by Hospitals and Health Networks magazine and achieved the health system’s first Missouri Quality Award.

“Among his many other accomplishments are the creation of the state’s only hospital devoted to the care of women and children, the building of the region’s most comprehensive orthopaedic institute, and the construction of a new home for Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in the new patient care tower addition to University Hospital,” Williamson said. “Under his leadership, University of Missouri Health Care expanded behavioral health services in central Missouri with the opening of the Missouri Psychiatric Center, our Level I trauma center received prestigious certification by the American College of Surgeons, and we partnered with Cerner Corporation to form the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation.”

University of Missouri Health Care is an academic medical center and a safety-net hospital system with gross annual revenues of $1.2 billion.

While Ross was CEO, MU Health Care earned net income exceeding $30 million for seven consecutive years, provided support from hospital revenues to the School of Medicine exceeding $25 million for six consecutive years, and reinvested in capital improvements of more than $35 million per year for five consecutive years.

In addition to these accomplishments, under the direction of Ross, University of Missouri Health Care opened the state-of-the-art Missouri Neurosciences Center, initiated tobacco-free policies at all its facilities and grounds, and started the Healthy U initiative designed to improve community health.

“A hallmark of his tenure has been leading the health system in the area of technology and information services,” Williamson said. “The system acquired two da Vinci surgical systems and a Varian Trilogy Tx linear accelerator, and built the region’s first hybrid operating room, to give just a few examples of the technological breakthroughs initiated by Jim Ross.”

“Thanks to Jim Ross, MU Health Care is well positioned to continue meeting our mission of improving the health of all Missourians,” Chancellor Brady Deaton said.

“Jim’s retirement will be a loss to the central Missouri community as well as to the health system and the state of Missouri,” Williamson said. “He and his wife, Doris, have given back to their community in myriad ways. Jim has served as president of the Missouri Hospital Association board of trustees. He is the recipient of the School of Nursing’s 2007 Distinguished Friend of the School Award. Doris’s contributions to the community include presidency of the Assistance League of Missouri from 2009 to 2010, and volunteer service on the Assistance League board , the board of Children’s Hospital, the board of directors of Job Point, the Women’s Network Changing the Odds Committee, and the Ellis Fischel Gala advisory board.”

Prior to joining University of Missouri Health Care in 2004, Ross served as president and chief operating officer of University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina in Greenville, N.C. He served in administrative roles from 1977 to 1990 for Methodist Hospitals of Dallas and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston.

Williamson also announced the appointment of Mitch Wasden, MU Health Care’s chief operating officer, as CEO/COO, effective Jan. 1, 2013. As CEO/COO, Wasden will be overseeing a system comprised of University Hospital and Clinics, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, the Missouri Psychiatric Center and Rusk Rehabilitation Center, all in Columbia; Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon, Mo., and Capital Region Medical Center in Jefferson City, Mo. Wasden joined MU Health Care in June from Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La., where he served as chief executive officer. His previous experience also includes positions as chief operating officer and vice president of Tympany Medical Inc. in Stafford, Texas, and vice president of clinical services for Ochsner Health System in New Orleans.

“Mitch Wasden brings great leadership skills that will help us continue to build a health system focused on our mission of advancing the health of all Missourians,” said Williamson. “He and our new interim dean, Dr. Les Hall, are good partners for our continuing efforts to closely align our hospitals, clinics and physicians, as is happening across the country.”