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After exiting his role in April as chief administrative officer at Mercy Hospital Springfield, Erik Frederick is seeking his next professional challenge.
Frederick, who served nearly four years in the executive role with Mercy, said he’s spending time with his family this summer in San Antonio, Texas, before weighing job options.
“After the last few years, I’m looking forward to a short break to give my family some time back that I owe them,” he says.
Of his most recent health care leadership position, Frederick says he collaborated closely with Mercy physician, nursing and operational leaders to carry out the hospital’s daily operations.
“The scope of this is very broad and far reaching into our community,” he says. “Within that large scope lies both the biggest challenge and the biggest reward.”
Frederick says the only way to effectively lead an organization the size of Mercy, which locally employs roughly 9,000, is to know how each department operates. Even after years on the job, he felt some days he was only scratching the surface.
“Engaged co-workers do not have leaders that sit in their offices all day,” he says, noting his position and other members of the administrative team would go on daily leadership walks to connect with staff to ask about their work and challenges.
Frederick also scheduled time to work alongside Mercy workers in the emergency room, on a COVID unit and in housekeeping.
With an average daily census of 500 patients, he said the Springfield hospital completed 33,000 discharges, 67,000 emergency room visits and 37,000 surgeries in fiscal 2021.
Tasked in March 2020 with leading Mercy’s regional response to the coronavirus pandemic, Frederick says he helped assemble a team of physicians, clinicians and nonclinicians to create a multiphased plan to address capacity, equipment, staffing and supplies.
Despite multiple surges of COVID-19 numbers over a two-year span, he says the plan has held intact with modifications along the way.
“I convened very smart people to build a plan which would prepare us to support the community,” Frederick says of his approach to the health system’s COVID response.
Getting involved with the Springfield community was a priority for Frederick as soon as he came to Mercy in 2018 from Rockport, Maine, where he worked as chief operating officer for Pen Bay Medical Center.
“As a leader, it is imperative that I set the example first,” he says, noting he joined the boards of Boys & Girls Club of Springfield Inc. and The Kitchen Inc. shortly after arriving in the Queen City. “Both organizations serve those most underrepresented in our community.”
Frederick cites Luke 12:48 as a philosophy of service for his time, talents and treasures.
The Bible verse says, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
“As a leader, I have an added responsibility to encourage that same behavior in those that I have been entrusted to lead,” he says.
In an effort to provide flexibility to their workers, some area businesses are beginning to offer four-day workweeks.
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