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3 hospital CEOs detail plans to address labor shortages

Paulette Davidson, president and CEO, Monument: We’re the largest employer in the region. We currently have around 500 open clinical roles that we’re recruiting for, and we’re recruiting regionally, we’re recruiting nationally. We’re all looking for the same people. It’s probably more challenging to recruit to a rural setting than an urban setting.

We’re having a difficult time absorbing the cost impact in our organization. When you look at the makeup of our patient profile, 72% of our patients have some form of government payer. When 72% of your payer mix is fixed, meaning you can’t change your rates to absorb these higher expenses, it’s requiring us to look carefully at our clinical programs.

We recently had to close one of our long-term care facilities because we couldn’t staff it. We were to the point where the staff that we did have were tired, managers were working the night shifts, and we came to a place where we realized in order to ensure safety of those residents, we would have to close that long-term care [location].

We’re seeing that across the region. Long-term care organizations that we don’t own or operate are reducing the number of resident beds because they don’t have the staff. In one of our hospitals in Rapid City, our tertiary-level hospital, one whole floor of that hospital is occupied by patients who we have not been able to discharge. They can’t go home. They need more support, but the long-term care organizations in our community just can’t accommodate them.

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