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The question was posed after Mike Poore was named the permanent chief executive officer of Mosaic Life Care, why the leadership of the local hospital is such a big deal.

Mosaic Life Care is St. Joseph’s largest employer with a workforce of 3,200. Many of those employees are highly trained caregivers that you will need on the worst day of your life.

The hospital has $765 million in annual operating expenses and conducts more than 10,000 surgeries, sees more than 56,000 emergency room patients and welcomes the births of more than 1,500 babies.

It seems that the hospital’s future direction and its financial stability has more consequence on your life than, say, a bizarre trial involving two dysfunctional celebrities.

In St. Joseph, people should be wishing Poore the best after Mosaic’s board removed his interim title and made him the permanent CEO. Not for his sake but for ours.

Poore was seen as more of a hired gun when he was brought in to replace Dr. Mark Laney, whose abrupt resignation, right on the heels of other executive departures, raised plenty of unanswered questions. Poore has amassed considerable experience running hospitals, often on an interim basis, but this time he is his own permanent replacement.

At his introductory press conference, Poore said he fell in love with the community and the people who work within the hospital. But in a bit of a contradiction, he also said that Mosaic faces a public perception problem with some in the very same community who believe better care is available in Kansas City.

It was a noteworthy acknowledgment from an entity that is very careful with its image and spends considerable time and money marketing itself.

For the record, we agree with Poore’s position — that a perception problem exists and that it is not justified. Mosaic is designated as a Level II trauma center, which means it meets the same standards of 24-hour responsiveness and access to specialists as a Level I trauma center in a bigger metro area like Kansas City. The main difference is that a Level II center does not produce research or publish on advancements in trauma care.

But perception can have a way of becoming reality. In his new role, Poore has his hands full with many of the same problems that other hospitals face, like staffing and reimbursement. With public perception, Poore deals with a problem that might be unique to St. Joseph — an inferiority complex that’s relatively ingrained.

Perhaps the best way to improve Mosaic’s reputation isn’t with more billboards but with a chief executive who speaks with frankness and honesty. In Poore, Mosaic found the right leader.

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