By Sarah Pridgeon
The Board of Trustees was questioned about the high number of vacant staff positions within the Crook County Medical Services District at this month’s regular meeting. In response, Chairman Bruce Brown announced a pending investigation to discover the reason for the recent rate of staff departures. “The column of openings in the paper is getting deeper and deeper, why is everyone leaving?” questioned Arley Maynard. “You should know that there is great concern within the community that the hospital will stay open.” Chairman Brown assured Maynard that there is no current danger of the hospital closing. “Oh we’re going to stay open, it’s a natural concern but there’s been no discussion of closing among (the board),” he said. Brown pointed to Glenn Bryant, Chief Operating Officer of Regional Health Network, to explain the procedure that will be undertaken to investigate the departures. “We will be doing exit interviews from a list of everyone who’s left in the last six months,” said Bryant. “We will be looking for a common denominator.” Bryant went on to explain that the phone calls will be made by Human Resources, a neutral resource. Maynard agreed that the process will be helpful, but not that the financial situation has a bearing on the concerns of the community. “I don’t think people are worried about the money, they’re not here at these meetings to hear about that,” she commented. “It’s a concern having staff turnover, but more of a concern not having revenue,” responded Brown. “We’re doing well, so there’s no thought that we will be closing.” Brown concluded by referring to an issue addressed at last month’s meeting regarding the wage freeze that some staff members believe may be contributing to the resignations. “We’ve replaced three travelers with permanent staff this month,” he announced. The board stated at last month’s meeting that the perceived difference in pay accorded to traveling contract staff and permanent members, as well as the lack of wage increases itself, should begin to see improvement as contract staff are replaced by permanent employees.