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Lake Regional Announces Leadership Alignment to Enhance Patient Experience

Friday, April 1, 2022

Lake Regional Health System is pleased to announce changes in leadership aimed at providing patients unified, personalized care. These changes begin with Melissa Hunter, R.N., MSN, expanding her role to serve as an executive vice president and the chief operating officer and chief nursing officer.

Melissa Hunter, R.N., MSN, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer Melissa Hunter, R.N., MSN, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer

“Lake Regional Health System is focused on giving patients the best care and the best outcomes possible,” said Kevin McRoberts, FACHE, Lake Regional CEO. “Our team unites around improving lives, and we want every decision we make to benefit our patients. That commitment is why Melissa Hunter has expanded her role to oversee the full clinical experience of our hospital patients — from their arrival in our Emergency Department to their stay in our hospital through their discharge and follow-up care with home health services.”

Already an executive vice president and the chief nursing officer, Hunter has added the chief operating officer role. This expands her responsibilities to include ancillary services, post-acute care and acute patient flow (hospitalist and case management programs), in addition to her areas of the hospital’s nursing units and nursing administration.

Hunter began at Lake Regional in 1997 as a patient care technician in the Emergency Department. She also worked as a registered nurse, a house supervisor, the Emergency Department manager and the director of nursing, before joining Lake Regional Administration in 2014.

“Melissa is known and respected throughout Lake Regional and this community as someone who wants what is best for patients,” McRoberts said. “I am excited to see her take this opportunity to advance the care we provide.”

Hunter attended Central Methodist University, where she received associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing before earning a master’s degree in nursing in 2013. She and her husband, JD, have two sons and live in Osage Beach.

To support this more unified view of patient care, Justine White, R.N., MHA, has been named director of nursing. In this role, White oversees the hospital’s nursing units, as well as Respiratory Therapy, Dialysis, Skilled Nursing Facility, Surgery, Outpatient Services, and Women’s and Children’s Services.

Justine White, R.N., MHA, Director of Nursing Justine White, R.N., MHA, Director of Nursing

“Justine is a trusted leader who breaks down silos and builds teamwork so we can continuously improve and advance patient care,” Hunter said. “Her skills and experience in developing leaders will be especially important in the director of nursing role.”

White joined Lake Regional in 2020 as an ICU nurse before becoming the Trauma coordinator. She oversaw the education, process improvement and regulatory compliance involved in Lake Regional maintaining its Level III Trauma Center designation from the State of Missouri. This included developing and implementing quality improvement initiatives involving the Emergency Department, ICU and physician staff. Previously, she served as the medical base supervisor for MU Air Medical Services.

White graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2010 and completed her Masters of Health Administration in 2021, both at the University of Missouri – Columbia. White and her husband, Jacob, have three children and live in Jefferson City.

In addition, Lake Regional also has expanded the roles of three current directors: Mike Dow, PharmD, director of Ancillary Services; Mariah Swinker, R.N., BSN, MBA-HA, director of Post-Acute Care; and Toni Stidham, R.N., director of Acute Patient Flow.

“I am excited for Lake Regional’s future because we have leaders such as Mike, Mariah, Toni and Justine supporting our efforts and leading our team,” Hunter said. “Bringing them together helps ensure our patients receive seamless, coordinated care.”