N.C. systems chief named MU Health Care director

Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:06 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

A North Carolina leader of health care systems has been named executive director of University of Missouri Health Care, MU officials said Monday.

Jim Ross, president and chief operating officer of University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, begins April 1.

“I’ve already learned about the Tigers and the black and gold,” he said Monday evening from his Greenville, N.C., home.

Ross will oversee the administration of hospitals and clinics owned or operated by MU Health Care. That includes University Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Columbia Regional Hospital, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, Missouri Rehabilitation Center and University Physicians.

Ross’s responsibilities will also include the Capitol Region Medical Center, Cooper County Memorial Hospital and Rusk Rehabilitation Center.

His annual salary has been set at $350,000.

During Ross’s 13 years of leadership at University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, the system grew from one hospital to six. Before that, he was senior vice president at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston and vice president of Methodist Hospitals of Dallas.

“At all three of the places I worked, we were able to put together a team of outstanding leadership,” Ross said. “Administrators, physicians and nurses came together to resolve problems and build programs.”

UM system President Elson Floyd said Ross will play an important role in selecting MU Health Care’s leadership team. MU Heath Care anticipates hiring a chief financial officer and a chief medical officer by spring.

Former MU Health Care managers John O’Shaughnessy and Keith Weinhold stepped down in September 2002, and the Hunter Group, a Florida management company, took control to address financial problems.

Under Hunter’s direction, MU Health Care saw a profit of $8.4 million in the last fiscal year.

“They’ve made great progress in a short amount of time,” Ross said. “I plan to continue the good work that the Hunter Group started and the employees and physicians carried out.”

Raised in Memphis, Ross earned a master’s degree in health administration from Washington University in St. Louis. He said he looks forward to becoming a member of the MU Health Care team.

“The faculty and the staff and the leadership — they’re outstanding,” he said.

Ross and his wife, Doris, plan to make the move to Columbia in March.

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