Samaritan Hospital hires new staff

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MOSES LAKE — Addressing staff shortages was a topic of conversation at the regular meeting of Samaritan Healthcare commissioners.

One of the ways hospital officials measure how the institution is doing is the number of emergency room patients that have to be transferred to other facilities, called the transfer rate. Most of those transfers occur because the hospital doesn’t provide the treatment they need, but some occur because the hospital doesn’t have enough staff in the facility.

There’s a target for the transfer rate, and the hospital is a little above the target. “We’re just barely above our target, year to date,” said director of nursing Becky DeMers.

One of the persistent reasons for transferring patients has been a shortage of nurses. To address that, the hospital has hired 20 nurses in 2018; of those, 18 either are working or have started the hospital’s orientation process, DeMers said.

In addition, hospital officials are looking at ways to provide continuing education for nurses, along with other incentives, to avoid a similar shortage in the future, DeMers said.

Chief financial officer Alex Town announced the hospital has hired three medical providers and a fourth physician agreed to extend her contract. Arezou Amidi is a specialist in podiatry and will be working with Samaritan patients for two more years.

Sports medicine physician Brett DeGooyer is expected to start work in January, Town said. He will join the existing orthopedic department. Nicole Parker is a nurse practitioner in behavioral health who previously was employed at Confluence Health. Parker is the second nurse practitioner hired this year for the hospital’s behavioral health program. Hospital officials plan to hire a physician as medical director for that program within the next year.

Family medicine physician Pranev Patel is expected to start work in January, Town said. Hospital officials announced the hiring of two other family medicine physicians earlier in the summer. Both are in their last year of residency, and will start sometime in 2019. Sahand Vafadary is expected to start his Samaritan practice next spring, and Chris Ryan is scheduled to start at the hospital in summer 2019.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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