January looks better than expected at Seneca

The February board meeting for Seneca Healthcare District, held March 2, revealed January, which is historically one of the slower months at the hospital, to be busier and more financially positive than predicted.

Over the years, the winter months are usually a quieter time around the hospital due to fewer visitors and lower population with the departure of part-time residents.

This winter, patient visits seemed to trend from the norm and have remained stable as far as usage of the hospital’s services.

Two of the most obvious reasons for the change could be that more people have been ill this year or more people are making use of the services provided by the increased staff at Seneca.

With nine providers, including doctors and physical therapists, there are more than a few choices for patients to select from.

The financials for the month of January indicated that patient revenues were almost $83,000 more than anticipated and the total operating expenses were $3,000 less than budgeted.

The human resources department reported other encouraging news as it announced the addition of seven new personnel to the staff.

The shortage of qualified staff at small rural hospitals is not unique to this neck of the woods.

Small community hospitals across the nation are competing with large, higher paying urban hospitals to attract the needed staff, especially in the area of nursing.

New nursing graduates often move toward the bigger hospitals because, “that’s where the action is.”

In many cases, the positions open at small hospitals are not full-time due to the lower patient volume, which can rule out some full-time job seekers.

In an effort to overcome some of these hiring hurdles, Director of Human Resources James Kooyman introduced Traci Holt, director of the Alliance for Workforce Development.

Holt presented several scenarios about how AFWD can assist the hospital in filling the positions they currently have open, including recruiting, prequalification, internships and on-the- job training.

With a list of seven full-time positions open, including clinic manager, administrative assistant, clinic LVN, RNs, LVNs, and CNAs, there are numerous opportunities.

Additionally, there were 10 per diem categories presented that the hospital is looking to fill. These include medical transcription, medical records coder, medical assistant, medical receptionist, admissions/HIM clerk, clinical lab scientist, phlebotomist, housekeeper, maintenance worker and kitchen helper cook.

One of the goals of AFWD is to employ local talent to fill as many of these jobs as possible.