WARNER ROBINS — Rising admission rates have led to a shortage of nurses at Houston Healthcare hospitals.
Since June 1, Houston Healthcare has posted available positions for 30 registered nurses and five licensed practical nurses, Melinda Hartley, vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer, reported Wednesday evening.
So far, 11 of the registered nurse positions have been filled, and all of the licensed practical nurse positions have been filled, she said.
“We’re still working aggressively to bring staff in,” Hartley told a meeting of the Houston Healthcare System Inc. board of trustees.
In addition, six of eight patient care technician jobs recently have been filled, as well as all three posted positions for house unit clerks, Hartley said.
Since January, inpatient admissions at Houston Medical Center increased 13 percent over last year, while decreasing by about the same amount at Perry Hospital over the same time frame, according to the hospital.
But emergency room visits increased by about 6 percent at both hospitals, figures show.
“It has been challenging at best,” Hartley said.
A search for a new chief executive officer also is in the works.
Cary Martin has been acting CEO since the board fired Grady W. “Skip” Philips without cause May 17.
An active search for a new CEO should begin soon, board Chairman Sonny Watson said. The search will reach nationwide, Martin said, and job descriptions for the advertisements should be finalized in about a week.
Martin, who is also still serving as the system’s chief operating officer, will receive a salary boost for his extra duties, the board unanimously decided at the meeting.
Martin now will be paid $260,000 per year. The raise, which is retroactive to May 18, is an increase of about $85,000. His vehicle allowance will increase to $800 per a month.
The move reflects the board’s desire to compensate Martin accordingly.
“Mr. Martin’s putting in a lot of hours,” Watson said.
The board also voted to increase the retainer for attorney Mike Gray from $1,000 per a month to $2,000 per a month. The increase reflects Gray’s increased duties since being hired as the board’s attorney in May. He previously has been the attorney for other system entities.
Houston Healthcare System Inc. is the parent corporation over all Houston Healthcare entities, including Houston Medical Center and Perry Hospital. The board is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the system.
To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 256-9705.