Trying to improve the recruitment, retention and capacity of senior centers
[ By Katherine Nettles ]
Gunnison Valley Health (GVH) is recalibrating wages for some of its workers as the hospital system continues to recruit for multiple vacancies and negotiate with its current workforce to avoid turnover. GVH chief executive Jason Amrich, who has been at the helm for just over three months, and other GVH officials met with Gunnison County commissioners on March 22 to review the county’s largest health care system. and its current strategies. Worker housing tops the list, as does stabilizing staff retention, increasing the number of senior care center residents to reach its potential, and overall housing stock inventory, according to Amrich.
Staffing considerations are at the heart of many hospital system needs, from increasing the capacity of the aged care center to expanding specialty services such as women’s health, dermatology, surgery, pediatrics and preventive screenings. Still, staffing has been affected by low housing stock and high market prices, GVH officials said. The hospital system hopes to solve this problem by first increasing salaries as much as it can.
“We are actively recruiting for many positions that we are actively recruiting for,” Amrich said. “We have received requests for more competitive salaries and are considering budgeting for salary increases.”
The Gunnison Aged Care Center is holding steady at 38 residents, Amrich said, “but our hope is to continue to increase that staffing” and allow more. The center’s capacity is 50 residents, and Amrich shared the good news that the center’s star rating recently increased from three to four (out of five) as a marker of quality.
He said it’s quite difficult to get seniors coming out of hospital to the right level of care, whether in a long-term facility or with home care. Having more flexibility in the senior care center could alleviate some of that.
Staffing is also affected by the availability of housing, from frontline workers like facility staff to highly trained specialists and doctors, Amrich said. Another of GVH’s goals is to increase the housing stock through real estate and head leases.
GVH’s Vice President of Administrative Services, Wade Baker, described the housing challenge and GVH’s needs in more detail via email at Crested Mound News. “This is impacting Gunnison Valley Health from both a recruitment and retention perspective. GVH currently owns 11 units and we have just signed a master lease for eight additional units in the Paintbrush development. We also have some short term local leases. Between new employees moving into the area and current employees struggling with housing issues, we estimate we could put up to about 50 units up for use,” Baker said.
Amrich said there have been many applicants for the eight prime leases at Paintbrush, and GVH is trying to decide how to be fair in offering them. “We also have to ask ourselves how to be fair when looking at our units at Lazy K [a housing development under construction in Gunnison]; how do we manage our real estate assets?
Baker said two-bedroom units are the greatest demand among GVH employees, with three-bedrooms being the second highest need.
Other goals on the horizon
Amrich said that since COVID has receded for now, “We have resigned from incident command,” and public health meetings are less frequent although GVH officials still meet periodically with the director of public health. of Gunnison County, Joni Reynolds. “We have a good open line of communication there,” he said.
Low COVID numbers have allowed GVH to focus on other goals such as streamlining medical records across the hospital system and other provider networks, and engaging in strategic real estate planning and facilities that could include a medical arts center at the north end of Gunnison.
Amrich said he was pleased with the valley-wide input from a recent community survey regarding hospital system services. “We had over 800 community survey respondents, and we’re going to start looking more closely at the data there. We’ve identified the top eight people listed, and then we’ll narrow them down to the top three or four to focus on. Oncology, behavioral health, and addiction treatment are prominently featured,” Amrich said.
A recently published behavioral health needs study will also help clarify. Amrich said he hopes to increase the number of colonoscopies, women’s health services, dermatology appointments and other vital services for preventative screening. He said he also hopes to hire a general surgeon by mid-summer.
As commissioners listened to Amrich’s reports, the question of how much more housing to build for the local workforce took center stage.
Amrich said he doesn’t believe more construction will equate to a new line of cars passing through Monarch to move through the Valley, but will fill in the gaps for those already here and help “just get their heads out of the way.” ‘water”.
County commissioners agreed and commissioner Roland Mason said he would seek to find data from various employers and industries that could help identify the number of people in need of housing in the valley.