Animas Surgical Hospital announced last week that Meggin Roberts was named CEO, a role she filled in an interim capacity since Joe Theine left the position at the end of June.
Roberts is a familiar face to many at the organization, where she has worked in some capacity since the hospital’s founding in 2004. She started as a receptionist and has worn many, and sometimes multiple, hats at the hospital as it has developed.
Now standing at the helm, Roberts says she has growth on her mind.
“The hospital just has continued to grow, and it changes to meet the needs of our community, and so I foresee that that's the direction we continue to go,” she said. “We’re focusing on growth, meeting the needs of the growing Durango community (and) recruiting providers.”
Mirroring industry trends, ASH has struggled to fill vacant positions and keep up with growing demand.
Roberts says that ASH both complements and competes with Mercy Hospital, Durango’s other major medical hub. As the organization moves to fill over 30 vacant positions, it has to contend with Mercy’s push to expand its own services and coverage.
Both hospitals are hiring radiology technicians and recently graduated nurses, but Mercy is offering $15,000 and $5,000 signing bonuses for the respective positions.
“It’s absolutely a challenge,” Roberts admits.
But in her vision, bonuses are not necessarily a sustainable approach to increasing provider retention.
“We work really hard to have the living wage to be competitive with our competition in their surrounding area, but also to offer some quality of life balance, to put family first and to provide a really healthy work environment – and that's hard and health care,” Roberts said.
Most of the providers at ASH are independent, and so it is up to the hospital to create a work environment that attracts practitioners.
As the demand for total joint replacements, gynecological services and gastroenterological care has risen, ASH has worked to ensure that the availability of facilities and equipment can keep pace.
“We don't always get it right all the time, but physicians have a voice, and when they ask for things or they ask for change, we have the ability to implement that quickly,” Roberts said.
And she has several examples.
When Southwest Endoscopy Center was losing providers, ASH stepped in and purchased the practice to turn the trend around. When one of the hospital’s joint replacement specialists became inundated with patients, ASH helped the practice recruit another surgeon.
Roberts said she sees the hospital expanding to meet Durango’s needs, although the specifics of exactly what that could look like remain uncertain. For now, she says her job is about bolstering the hospital’s staff.
“I'm just here to support them and to continue to give them an environment in which our providers can take care of patients and our staff can help in that endeavor,” she said.