KAHRMM Newsletter Articles
Challenges, Challenges, Challenges! A Chat and Coffee Conversation

Challenge (December 2021) – How many cargo ships are waiting to get to a dock? There aren't enough customs' personnel to check the ships in. There aren't enough truck drivers to deliver the product to its destination. Why can't we hire people when the news is telling us the unemployment rates are the lowest since COVID began? The questions go on and on. The theories to the answers above can go on and on as well. But at the end of the day, we just need our supplies.

No one understands this better than our friend and fellow KAHRMM Board Member Tammy Jackson-Noland with Labette Health, Parsons. Tammy was nice enough to chat with me regarding their struggle with supply shortages during a major expansion at their facility and outlying clinics. Labette Health is listed as a 99-bed facility but is licensed for 49 beds and serves a six-county area. Parson has a population of 8,500 people.

Tammy gave me the low-down of all the construction projects they've been doing during the pandemic.

  • Added a fifth OR suite and two GI suites
  • Added an entire new floor to the top of their building. Providing new space to the surgical M/S staff and patients. These additions will also allow the remodel of the medical floor that will temporarily move to the old surgical area while the medical floor is being remodeled.
  • They gutted their old psych area. This is where OB and ICY will move.
  • They have a new clinic building in Oswego to replace the modular building, as well as a new building for the EMS.

As you can see, Tammy has been busy! Some of her struggles have been storage for the purchased equipment, beds and furniture for the new and remodeled areas. They have filled an offsite warehouse and haven't been able to order more because lack of warehouse space to rent in town. And the reason for these issues is shortages with building materials, which the vast majority are doors. Doors? Doors! Patient-room doors (kind of important) and overhead doors for the new EMS building.

Tammy's plate is full, and everything is at a standstill. Then come staffing issues. That's a whole other story that is on our plate as well!

This is an excellent example of a day-in-the-life of supply chain professionals. No amount of preparation can keep these types of things from happening during a pandemic. We spend our time looking for substitutions to hopefully keep us moving forward until we hit that proverbial blockade (aka doors). And then we wait.

It's important to know we all deal with these issues on a day-in, day-out basis. All we can hope for is that we find some kind of normal in our work life and not take it home to our family life. The conversation Tammy and I had over the phone was so needed for both of us. It reminded us we need to be able to just vent sometimes to people that deal with the same kinds of issues. KAHRMM can provide that. We have the best group of people. I know that if I need help or need to bounce an idea off of someone, I can email or pick up the phone and call any one of the KAHRMM Board or general members for some great conversation.

So, my wish for 2022 is that all of you can take some time to just breathe and remember what you are most thankful for ... your family, friends and co-workers. We all know we'll get the job done. That's just what we do, but make sure to take care of you!

Here's to 2022!
--Lisa Feil