Lee’s Summit Medical Center loses CEO to larger hospital

rpulley@lsjournal.comJanuary 31, 2014 

Jackie DeSouza, CEO of Lee’s Summit Medical Center, soon will lead Research Medical Center, a premier hospital in Kansas City.

She’ll be overseeing a hospital which cares for about four times as many patients as LSMC at that hospital which also is part of HCA Midwest Health System.

Research has about 500 beds and 2,000 employees. Its services include a 125-bed psychiatric hospital, a burn center and Level 1 Trauma Center and a second campus in the Brookside neighborhood.

It’s reach as an institution is 150-mile radius with the region, offering treatments not available at some smaller facilities.

HCA announced her promotion this week. She’ll be starting at Research Feb. 10.

A search for a LSMC CEO will begin immediately. During the interim Patrick Kueny, chief operating officer, will be acting CEO.

DeSouza came to LSMC in November 2011 after five years as chief operating officer at Research, where she started in 2006. Prior to that she had been with HCA in Colorado. She moved to Kansas City in 2003 to be an associate administrator helping with HCA’s acquisition of Health Midwest.

Jon Ellis, LSMC Board chairman, said she’ll be missed, although the board is confident that it has a great team in place at the hospital.

Ellis said he’s glad she plans to remain a Lee’s Summit resident.

“Jackie is a highly effective and innovative leader who motivates employees and physicians to high patient care standards,” Ellis said. “She is a collaborator and a community partner who serves on the board of several community organizations, and takes great pride in helping nonprofit organizations like American Heart for local causes.”

He said she had been successful in bringing many more resources to the hospital to improve services.

DeSouza said she was glad to have her first CEO experience in a community hospital in a great town. She said credit for her success at LSMC is shared with her administrative team, physicians and other hospital staff, because the whole organization is dedicated to excellent patient outcomes.

“It’s hard for me to leave this special place...I know they’ll carry forward the momentum,” DeSouza said.

She said she’s proudest of LSMC’s being consistently rated as among the top hospitals in the HCA system and in national ratings for core quality of care and patient satisfaction.

Capital improvements for technology also stand out, she said.

“We made sure we were innovative and had the latest and best in technology,” she said. Additions include the most recent advances for daVinci Si robot for surgery and a new 128-slice, low-dose CT (X-ray) scanner. In 2013 the Midwest Neuroscience Institute opened at LSMC, another step in adding services so more Lee’s Summit patients can get treatments locally, she said.

DeSouza said that HCA typically has a succession plan for hospital administrators, so she had expected to eventual promotion to head a larger hospital, but not so soon.

She said she is glad her promotion is at Research, because it allows her family to keep their home in Lee’s Summit. She said her husband and two daughters will continue to be active in the community and schools.

She said her husband, Mark Van Blaricum, is a great supporter, sharing household duties to help her meet a busy schedule.

“I’m teaching my girls it is possible to work, to be a mother, and to be an executive,” DeSouza said.

She said Research already has excellent service and physicians, which she expects to continue to elevate, but also will work on branding.

“We need to get the word out,” she said.

“Jackie is a skillful healthcare executive with a track record of working collaboratively and earning results in every key pillar area, including quality of care, people, patient experience, growth and finance,” said M.L. Lagarde III, HCA Midwest Health System president.

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