About Us

CoxHealth Leadership

Max D. Buetow, President and Chief Executive Officer

Max Buetow is the president and CEO of CoxHealth. Buetow joined the organization in 2012 as the director of Springfield Neurological and Spine Institute. His career path continued in the neurosciences when he assumed the role of administrative director for the neuroscience service line. He became a vice president with CoxHealth’s physician entity, Cox Medical Group, and the VP of neurosciences in 2015. In June 2020, Buetow moved into the role of COO, where he had operational responsibility for the enterprise’s six hospitals.

Before CoxHealth, Buetow worked as an operations and distribution manager for Sara Lee Fresh Bakery, developing an affinity for Lean Six Sigma process improvement. Buetow received his undergraduate degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, and his Master of Business Administration at Drury University in Springfield.

Buetow is a board member of Multipli Credit Union, Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, SkyWord Sports Ministries, and the Missouri Hospital Association. He is also very involved in his local church and enjoys spending time with his wife, Laura, and their four children.

Amanda Hedgpeth, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

Amanda Hedgpeth serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer for CoxHealth. Previously, she served as the vice president of hospital operations for the Springfield Hospital Group and vice president of clinical services. She began her career at CoxHealth in 2005 as a budget analyst.

Hedgpeth’s current responsibilities at CoxHealth include oversight of all operations within the system — including CoxHealth's six hospitals, more than 80 clinics, and more. She has system-wide responsibilities for performance improvement, research, and innovations. Hedgpeth also served as deputy incident command leader for the hospital system’s COVID-19 response.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State University. Hedgpeth lives in Ozark with her husband, Andy, and their three children.

Charity Elmer, Executive Vice President, General Counsel

Charity Elmer serves as executive vice president and general counsel for CoxHealth. Her responsibilities include all legal, compliance, internal audit, risk, worker’s compensation, and insurance matters, as well as system contracting for the CoxHealth enterprise. She’s worked in her current role for over 20 years.

Before joining CoxHealth, Elmer was a practicing attorney with the law firm of Blackwell Sanders (now Husch Blackwell), where she primarily practiced in labor and employment, corporate law, and litigation. Elmer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Drury University in Springfield and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She is licensed to practice in Missouri and Arkansas, is a member of several professional organizations, and has been active in the community, serving on several charitable and civic boards.

Jake McWay, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Jake McWay is executive vice president and chief financial officer for CoxHealth. He has been with the organization since 2003, overseeing the financial operations and planning for the enterprise. Previously, he served as the executive vice president and chief financial officer for Cox HealthPlans and as a manager with accounting firm BKD (now FORVIS). McWay is a certified public accountant and earned his Bachelor of Science in accounting from Missouri State University.

Timothy Jones, DO, Executive Vice President, President Cox Medical Group

Timothy L. Jones, DO, FAAFP, spent several years in private practice before he became chair of the joint operations committee for CoxHealth. This transitioned to his current role as president of Cox Medical Group in Springfield, Missouri, a position he’s held since 2019. In the ever-changing landscape of health care, Jones has made it his mission for Cox Medical Group to function as a physician-led, patient-centered medical group, delivering the highest quality care in a compassionate, evidenced-based, and cost-efficient manner.

A graduate of Drury University, he completed his medical education at Kansas City University in Kansas City, Missouri. After his residency in family medicine at CoxHealth, he received his Certificate of Added Qualification in hospice and palliative care.

Jones continues to be actively involved in community organizations. He currently serves as vice chair of the board for Camp Barnabas, a ministry serving adults and children with special needs. He is married to his wife, Kendra, and they have two children.

Ashley Casad, Senior Vice President, System Operations, President, Springfield Hospitals

Ashley Casad is the president of the Springfield Hospital Group and a senior vice president of operations for CoxHealth. Casad began her career at CoxHealth in 2020, when she joined the system as a vice president for clinical services. As vice president, she had responsibility for oncology, neurosciences, cardiovascular services, respiratory therapy, lab, and radiology. In addition to overseeing these departments, Casad served as the deputy incident commander for the systemwide response to COVID-19. Casad moved into her current role in 2023.

Before joining CoxHealth, Casad worked at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She started her career there as a postgraduate administrative fellow. Following her fellowship, she joined the neurosciences department as the assistant administrator, responsible for the operations and finances of the department.

Casad earned her bachelor’s degree in history at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She has a Master of Business Administration and a master’s of health administration degree from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Beth Polivka, MOL, BSN, RN, CENP, Senior Vice President, System Chief Nursing Officer

Beth Polivka is a senior vice president and the system chief nursing officer for CoxHealth. The majority of Polivka’s 29-year nursing career has been at CoxHealth, which includes 19 years of serving in various roles from direct care staff nurse to an administrative director of nursing before her promotion to the system chief nursing officer in 2021.

As system chief nursing officer, Polivka is responsible for all levels of nursing practice given by over 3,100 licensed nurses delivering care at CoxHealth. During her tenure as the chief nursing officer, she has led the Springfield hospitals to achieve the first Magnet designation in the region, an international recognition and nursing’s highest honor. Only 9% of hospitals in the United States achieve this designation. Polivka earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Southwest Baptist University in Springfield, Missouri, and holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Evangel University. She is certified in executive nursing practice through the American Organization for Nursing Leadership.

Brock Shamel, Senior Vice President Operations

Brock Shamel is the senior vice president of operations for CoxHealth Medical Group. In his role, Shamel supports the operations of more than 85 clinics, 2,000 teammates, and 850 providers across southwest Missouri.

Shamel obtained a Bachelor of Science in health and wellness from the College of the Ozarks in 2010. In 2012, he completed his graduate studies in health administration at Missouri State University.

In 2010, Shamel began his health care career as a practice manager at Skaggs Regional Medical Center (SRMC) in Branson, Missouri. Throughout his time at SRMC, Shamel grew as a leader by way of the highs and lows of a community-based health system. In 2013, CoxHealth acquired Skaggs, welcoming Shamel as a member of the CoxHealth Medical Group. In 2016, he promoted to administrative director of regional services, supporting the overarching daily operations of many specialties across the CoxHealth footprint. In 2021, Shamel became vice president of operations for CoxHealth Medical Group, affording him the opportunity to work with the entire physician team of CoxHealth.

Shawn Usery, MD, Senior Vice President, System Chief Medical Officer

Shawn Usery, MD, MBA, SFHM, is the system chief medical officer and senior vice president for CoxHealth. In 2008, Usery joined CoxHealth as a family medicine resident, eventually receiving the distinction of chief resident. In 2011, Usery joined CoxHealth’s hospitalist group, where he served as the program’s assistant medical director. From 2017 to 2019, Usery served as the chief medical officer for Cox Medical Center Branson and then as the chief medical officer for CoxHealth’s Community Hospital Group, responsible for CoxHealth’s three community and critical access hospitals. In April 2021, Usery was promoted to his current role as system chief medical officer and senior vice president. He’s responsible for provider and hospital quality, as well as medical staff services for the entire CoxHealth system.

Usery completed his undergraduate and Master of Bachelor Administration degrees at Drury University in Springfield. He received his medical doctorate at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He completed his internship and residency at CoxHealth Family Medical Residency.

Outside of work, Usery mentors undergraduate students at his alma mater, Drury University. He is an avid hunter and fisherman. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Blair, and their three boys.

William Mahoney, Senior Vice President Community Hospital Group, President Cox Branson

William Mahoney, who has more than 26 years of leadership experience in rural hospitals, began his tenure as president and chief executive officer at Skaggs Regional Medical Center in January 2010. He led efforts to find a strategic partner for the 159-bed facility to keep it relevant in the changing landscape of health care, and in 2013, Skaggs became a subsidiary of CoxHealth. In addition to his role at Cox Medical Center Branson, Mahoney became a system senior vice president with responsibilities over several ancillary areas and oversight of the system’s Community Hospital Group in 2018. This position oversees CoxHealth’s three rural hospitals: Cox Medical Center Branson, Cox Barton County Hospital, and Cox Monett Hospital.

Before joining the hospital in Branson, Mahoney proudly served his country as a United States Marine. He later earned his bachelor’s degree in health services management from the University of Illinois and a master’s in health care administration from the University of Missouri. Mahoney served for 5 1/2 years as president and chief executive officer of Labette Health, a 109-bed county-owned acute care hospital in Parsons, Kansas. Before this, he worked for six years as president and chief executive officer of Wamego City Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital in Wamego, Kansas.

Mahoney has served on numerous state, regional, and local boards, including the Branson Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau board, hospital association boards in Kansas and Missouri, Regional Policy Board 6, Skaggs Foundation Board of Directors, and the Taney County Economic Development board.

An informative, engaging, and energetic speaker, Mahoney regularly speaks to colleges and private businesses on servant leadership, employee engagement, and health care.

When he is not working to innovate rural hospitals, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Tammy, their 10 children, and 11 grandchildren.

Abby Craigmyle, Vice President, Corporate Integrity

Alicia Allen, Vice President, Nursing

Amy Wutke, President Cox College

Andrea Elliot, Vice President, Finance

Andrea McKay, President Cox Monett Hospital

Andrew Hedgpeth, Vice President, Human Resources

Bryan Williams, Vice President CoxHealth Medical Group

Cheryl Hertel, Vice President Chief Information Officer

Chris Wyatt, President Cox Barton County Hospital

Daniel Roth, Vice President Operations

David Raney, Vice President Business Development

David Taylor, Vice President Operations

Ellen Hammock, Vice President CoxHealth Medical Group

Heather Swearengin, Vice President Consumer Experience

Jim Farmer, Vice President CoxHealth at Home

Jann Holland, Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications

Jeff Hawkins, Vice President Operations

John Chastain, Vice President, Finance and Revenue Cycle

Lisa Alexander, President CoxHealth Foundation

Lori Cantrell, Vice President of Finance, Hospitals & Accounting

Trina Hargis, Vice President, Nursing Community Hospital Group

Matthew Aug, President Cox HealthPlans

Matthew Turner, Vice President Operations

Patrick Murfee, Vice President Chief Technology Officer

Rod Schaffer, Vice President, Facilities Management

Teresa Coyan, Chief of Staff, Vice President Government Relations

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