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Rebecca Green | SBJ

12 People You Need to Know in 2023: David Argueta

Health from the Start

Posted online

When classes are done for the day, many young teens spend time with friends to decompress from the stresses of high school. That was not the case for David Argueta, the newly appointed president for Mercy Hospitals Springfield. During high school, he sought out ways to be involved in health care.

“I was introduced to Dr. Bruce Liebert, the head of our federally qualified health care center, and asked if I could shadow him one day,” says Argueta.

The next morning at 5 a.m., he was following Dr. Liebert around the health center in Harlingen, Texas, where Argueta grew up.

“That’s where my love of health care and hospitals really took off,” he says.

Science came easily to Argueta as a student, he says, in part because of his family’s influence. His mother is a labor and delivery nurse, and his father works in education, so pursuing a scientific degree was a natural fit. When it came time for graduate school, Argueta says, he chose to pursue an MBA, focusing on his other love: health care administration.

It’s paid off.

Argueta was named president of Mercy Hospitals Springfield in May 2022, succeeding Brent Hubbard, after he transferred from Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, where he was chief administrative officer. In a Mercy restructuring move, Argueta absorbed some regional responsibilities of former Mercy Springfield Communities President Craig McCoy, whose position was eliminated in July 2022.

Based on patient volume in 2021, the health system is the largest in the area, with over 2.3 million patient visits recorded leading to net patient revenue exceeding $1.3 billion, according to Springfield Business Journal’s annual list research.

During Argueta’s first few months, he spent time visiting Mercy’s critical access hospitals in Aurora, Cassville and Lebanon, meeting the staff and listening to their ideas and aspirations. There are some 9,200 employees in his care throughout the region, and Argueta says he has been spending a lot of time focusing on looking forward.

“Who do we want to be?” Argueta asks. “And how do we want our patients to experience us at Mercy for many years to come?”

Argueta already knows the answer to his questions, and working with Mercy and collaborating with the community are pieces of the puzzle he says make it all exciting.

“We want to be a place where people receive the highest quality and safest care, and a place where people can access us when they need us and where they need us,” he says. “We want to be nationally recognized for the care that’s provided.”

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