The Daviess Community Hospital is zeroing in on beginning an $8 million construction project. Work is expected to begin sometime this fall and plans for the project are being finalized.
‘We are very close to having plans together. We are having weekly meetings now,” said Daviess Community Hospital CEO Tracy Conroy. “We did pick Danco as our construction manager. They are working on the schematic design. We have had multiple meetings with staff and physicians looking at process and flow and making sure we don’t miss anything. They are in the design phase right now and it is going well.”
The hospital plans to upgrade and expand the emergency department. Part of that change includes re-locating the intensive care unit to the second floor. That is where the work is expected to begin.
“Construction will begin on the second floor in the med-surg area,” said Conroy. “That’s because we will be moving the ICU to that floor and adding another bed. Once the second floor is done, we will begin work on the ED which will include a new entrance. We are working on how we want that to look.”
Conroy says that after months of planning and discussions involving everyone from community members to staff to members of the hospital board officials believe they are ready to see the project happen.
“We have the design we want,” she said. “We just need the architects to finish so that we can get things going.”
While the hospital is getting ready for a large physical change, members of the hospital staff are walking around with a little more spare change in their pockets. The change comes after the hospital provided bonuses and raises to most of its staff.
“We just felt like it was the right thing to do for their staying on the front lines through COVID,” said Conroy.
When COVID broke out many direct care nurses and staff began moving away from hospital work. Some moved to clinics and doctor offices, some left health care altogether, and others became involved in the bidding war that developed as hospitals throughout the country that were struggling for staff began offering large sign-on bonuses. That left rural hospitals like Davis County often depends on the loyalty of their remaining staff.
“They were staying with the hospital and not jumping to another hospital that was offering $10,000-to-$15,000 sign on bonuses,” said Conroy. “Not going with a travel nurse company where they were making over $100 per hour. We felt we needed to show our staff how much we appreciated everything they did for our patients and our community and for choosing to stay employed at Daviess Community.”
The hospital passed out $500-to-$1,000 and at the same time recognized the efforts of some of its lowest paid staff.
“We did bonuses for everyone and we raised our minimum wage to $14 per hour,” said Conroy. “That is something we had been wanting to do for quite some time. We are in the position financially to do it. And quite frankly how could we not do it. Our employees are valuable resources and we felt it was time to raise that from $10.25 to $14 per hour.”
The financial appreciation didn’t stop there.
“We also gave the rest of the staff a 4% increase,” said Conroy. “How could we not afford to do that.”
The pay-outs are the result of the recognition the board has for the work the staff did, especially through some of the toughest days of the pandemic.
“Our board has a great appreciation of the staff,” said Conroy. “We all recognize that there are a lot of supplies that go into taking care of patients and there is equipment, but our most reliable resources are the care givers and support staff.”