University of Michigan adding 500 jobs for expanded Mott children's, women's hospital
File photo | AnnArbor.com
The University of Michigan Health System is gradually hiring 500 new workers to staff the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital when the massive new hospital complex opens in November, five years after construction started.
The long-planned hiring surge makes the $754 million facility's arrival the biggest driver of job growth for the Ann Arbor area in 2011.
The hospital, which employs more than 4,000 people, has already added 150 new employees in many different areas — and another 63 job openings are currently posted.
Sometime soon after the 1.1-million-square-foot, 348-bed complex opens, the hospital will have added 500 new employees.
"That includes almost every department," said Loree Collett, associate hospital administrator and operational lead for the expansion project.
The hiring spurt highlights health care’s continuing role as the most powerful driver of economic growth for the Ann Arbor region.
Washtenaw County’s state government sector — which includes the U-M Health System — added about 2,404 jobs from 2009 to 2011, according to an economic forecast released in March by U-M economists. The economists said they suspected that most of that growth was in the U-M Health System, which employs more than 20,200 workers.
Over the next two years, that sector is expected to add another 2,057 jobs, accounting for more than 25 percent of the region’s projected job growth during that period.
Private providers of ambulatory health care services were expected to add 490 jobs from 2009 to 2013, according to the forecast. Private hospitals — which would include the St. Joseph Mercy Health System — were expected to add 394 jobs.
Collett said the U-M children’s and women’s hospital — which will effectively double in size when the new facility opens — completed an exhaustive process to determine where new employees would be needed.
Officials analyzed every department, projected future needs and examined how to staff up to handle growth in the "most efficient way possible,” she said.
The job growth is scattered throughout the hospital. Among the biggest areas of need are nurses in many different areas, clerical employees, radiology technicians, laboratory technicians, janitorial staff and ambulatory care staff.
Some jobs — such as janitorial work, or "environmental services," as U-M calls it — will be easy to fill.
But other, more specialized positions require recruiting. (See related story: The five hottest jobs at the expanded hospital.)
The hospital has already hired a number of employees, including some who won’t work in a clinical setting, such as security, maintenance, information technology, electricians, plumbers and food service workers.
The hospital needs to expand its janitorial staff in part because the new complex has private bathrooms for every patient. The current facility has one bathroom for every four patients.
Some jobs won't be filled until the days leading up to the facility's opening. But the nursing jobs, in particular, typically require 12 to 24 weeks of training.
Meanwhile, the hospital has been actively designing plans for a highly coordinated 12-hour move in which the hospital will shift patients from the old facility to the new complex next door.
The process involves thorough analysis of every patient to determine what type of medical equipment is necessary to make the shift. It also involves meticulous planning for routes, security and timing.
Right now, the hospital is budgeting about 17 minutes per patient for the move.
The hospital expects to have about 180 to 200 patients at the time of the shift. There's no way to know the exact composition and needs of the patients who will be staying at the hospital during the exact hours of the move, so the hospital is studying its own records to determine the most likely scenarios.
"There will be a variety of acuity or sickness," Collett said. "The general care patients will move pretty quickly. The critical care patients will take a little longer."
The new hospital will have a 12-story inpatient tower and a 9-story clinic tower. It’s the largest construction project currently underway in the state of Michigan.