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New staff introduced at MCMC board meeting

by Sharon Niederman
RATON — Two new members of Miners Colfax Memorial Hospital staff were introduced at the Oct. 22, 2021 meeting of the board of trustees.

Dr. Barry Singleton was formally appointed as administrator of Long Term Care.  Dr. Singleton’s most recent previous employment is Forest St. Compassionate Care Center in Denver.  He has also served as administrator for Meadows Nursing Home at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas, NM. He possesses four degrees and has a deep interest in small rural hospitals. He also loves the outdoors and has made Raton home.

He sees his challenges as dealing with issues of the COVID-19 virus; best utilizing the Miners Trust Fund; and finding a sufficient workforce of licensed nurses.

Bobbi Gore, the new black lung outreach specialist, has a background in Montana and Colorado, providing services to enable seniors to remain in their home. Prior to working for MCMC, she worked in Colorado.  Her previous employer was Park County Senior Coalition as executive director for 18 years.  She is also familiar with granting procedures. The black lung program is largely funded through grants. She has also moved to the area and is pleased with the “warm friendly welcome” she has received.

Her initial challenges included establishing grantor networks and dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on the mobile unit, which is currently sidelined due to the pandemic.

ER Bottleneck
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Loretta Conder emphasized the “huge problem” in the ER dealing with non-COVID-19 patients who may be suffering heart attack or stroke, yet may be jammed into a bottleneck attempting to reach a specialist such as a cardiologist or orthopedist. The difficulty of transferring patients may result in the need to call as many as eight hospitals to place such patients on waiting lists.  Although “we’re managing the best we can,” Dr. Conder said, resources are limited and such patients could have poor outcomes.

She also said staff is almost all vaccinated, and by wearing all PPE, none have contracted COVID-19.  Monoclonal antibodies, which can keep patients out of the hospital, can be administered to COVID-19 cases if reported early in the disease, with 33 doses given in Sept. and 13 thus far in Oct.

Dr. Conder also made the point that while NM Department of Health has articulated “crisis standards of care” for the state’s hospitals, it remains poised to move to that position which has not yet gone into effect.

Workforce development
Barbara Duran of Human Resources gave an update on workforce development, with efforts to “get creative” on recognition and rewards; using behavioral interviewing to select a “good fit,” and revamping reference checks.

CFO Lonnie Medina said the audit had been extended to Dec. 15.  Admissions are up five percent from last year.
CEO Bo Beames said COVID-19 numbers around the state are not really moving down, and recently 16 new cases were reported in Colfax County in a single day, and the county has “vaccine stagnation.”  At least 50% of the facility’s staff has received a flu vaccination, and staff COVID boosters are being administered at a rate of 12 per day.  A black lung clinic that served eight to nine patients was held, and the security system with video surveillance is in the process of installation. While the number of staff provided by agencies down, that is due to the scarcity of available agency staffers and the ongoing difficulty of finding staff.