Editorial: Too soon for concern
September 22, 2012
On the heels of the departure of two local doctors and bolstered by claims made by former employees, there has been recent speculation throughout the community about The Memorial Hospital’s ability to retain physicians. After meeting with hospital administrators, the editorial board came to the conclusion that TMH is in a situation faced by most other businesses across the country.
With the recent departure of a couple of the area's more popular doctors, community conversation in Moffat County has started to include questions about the ability of The Memorial Hospital to retain its employees, and especially its physicians.
Comments and letters to the editor from former hospital employees unhappy with TMH administrators have bolstered those questions. More specifically, some of those former employees have charged that TMH administrators George Rohrich, chief executive officer, and Jennifer Riley, chief of organizational excellence, don't treat their employees with respect.
After hearing these stories and comments, the editorial board invited Rohrich and Riley to meet and discuss the issue. Dr. J. Scott Ellis, chief of staff at TMH, also participated.
The three hospital representatives presented facts and statistics and answered many questions posed by editorial board members regarding both the retention of current employees as well as the recruitment of new ones.
Based on that meeting, as well as the comments and letters from former employees, editorial board members all came to the same conclusion: the situation at TMH sounds an awful lot like the situations present at many other comparable businesses in the region, state and even nation.
Does the departure of local doctors put a burden on those who need to find a new healthcare professional to trust?
But employee turnover is an inevitable part of running a business, especially when that business is located in a rural area and needs to draw a large number of its employees from outside that area. Any business owner in a similar situation would almost certainly agree, as did one editorial board member who has been in that position.
As it stands now, the rate at which TMH is losing physicians isn't any higher than the national rate. And while Craig was lucky to have had physicians in the past who stayed in the area for many years, it's unfair to expect every doctor that works in Craig to make that same commitment and senseless to blame the hospital for something that has become a national trend throughout the industry.
Regarding the claims made by former hospital employees, the editorial board doesn't doubt their validity. However, once again, this is not a situation unique to TMH.
The presence of a discord between administrators and employees is a reality present at almost any workplace in the world. And inevitably some of those employees will leave their jobs and remain unhappy with their former employers.
It also is worth noting that while disgruntled former employees have the right to tell anyone and everyone who will listen about why they are displeased, employers generally aren't permitted to discuss personnel matters with anyone other than the employee involved.
So while editorial board members believe the accounts they heard from former TMH employees, they also know only one side of the story has been told. Raising a red flag without knowing both sides would be irresponsible, and would completely discount the equal number of glowing reviews TMH receives from both current and former employees as well as from the patients it serves.
The editorial board isn't giving TMH administers a free pass. During the meeting the TMH representatives admitted that the recent departure of two doctors had somewhat of a polarizing effect on the staff with whom they worked, and also addressed the troubles they have had in the past with integrating new hires into the Moffat County community.
However they also presented several ways in which they are addressing those issues, as well as the many prospects they have for hiring new doctors in the near future.
In short, the TMH administrators told the editorial board they have a vision for where they want TMH to go in the future and a plan for how to get there.
The editorial board intends on making sure that plan is carried out effectively and will not hesitate to call TMH administrators out if it isn't.
But for now there doesn't seem to be cause for the community to be alarmed.
Note: Daily Press Editor/Publisher Bryce Jacobson did not participate in the research or writing of this editorial due to a conflict of interest.