March 18, 2021
TO:UMMC Faculty and Staff
FROM:Dr. Alan Jones, Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs
SUBJECT: Healthier Mississippi People, LLC: A New UMMC Staffing Partner
The University of Mississippi Medical Center strives to recruit and retain the very best employees. Our workforce is our most valuable asset.
In many cases, those who work here do so because of a commitment to the types of important work done at an academic medical center. Because we are Mississippi’s only academic medical center, we face little in-state competition for some of our positions and career opportunities. However, we have significant competition for many Medical Center positions that are in high demand locally, regionally and/or nationally.
Recruitment into nursing and nursing services positions has become increasingly challenging due to a number of factors, including recent growth, the COVID-19 pandemic and a national shortage of qualified nurses. For some time, our health system has experienced limited competitive abilities to recruit and retain the high volume of qualified, talented employees needed to fill many of our nursing services-related clinical positions. During the last 12 months, the impact COVID-19 has had on our and all other hospitals has made this staffing problem even more challenging to overcome.
Every Medical Center mission area and initiative is dependent upon a well-functioning, appropriately staffed and thriving clinical enterprise. Meeting the staffing demands of our hospitals and clinics is paramount to achieving these goals.
To attract and retain clinical-services staff, the Medical Center is engaging in a new staffing model that will run parallel to our current one. Healthier Mississippi People, LLC, or HMP for short, is a new staffing partner of UMMC.
The Medical Center has engaged with HMP, a subsidiary of the Mississippi nonprofit and UMMC-associated corporation Healthier Mississippi Collaborative, to provide a larger pool of talented clinical staff to fill positions of need at the institution. This new partner provides flexibility in filling open positions and is expected to improve retention in areas with historically high turnover rates.
This type of activity is not new to the Medical Center. We are currently engaged in many agreements that support our staffing needs – more than 20 – that cover positions ranging from nurses to IT personnel. For some areas on campus, like environmental, laundry and food services, we use an outside vendor to manage the services provided including to identify, hire and supervise the vendor’s employees who will fulfill their duties at a UMMC facility.
As a talent acquisition and staffing partner of the Medical Center, HMP will assist clinical leadership by identifying and hiring talented, skilled personnel to fill clinical vacancies at UMMC – including nursing services positions. As staffing needs are identified by clinical managers and submitted through the applicable HR/Talent Acquisition process, UMMC clinical leadership will determine which open positions could be filled by HMP. Positions will be filled by HMP through that company’s application process, which is separate and distinct from UMMC’s. More information for managers on the details and processes for filling positions to be staffed by HMP employees will be forthcoming.
Workers at UMMC who fill a position staffed through HMP are not Medical Center employees, and as such are not state employees. HMP, like other vendors UMMC is contracted with, is a private company that hires workers to fill designated open positions at Medical Center facilities. HMP employees assigned to work at UMMC do not qualify for state employee benefits and are not eligible to participate in the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi or the State and School Employees’ Health Insurance Plan.
HMP provides its employees, including those who work in a UMMC facility, a rewards package comparable to industry standards, including a benefits package with retirement and insurance options. Additionally, HMP is able to offer its employees some benefits and options that, as a state agency, UMMC cannot.
Once hired, HMP and its employees working at a UMMC facility will be accountable to UMMC to maintain the highest performance standards.
Only pre-identified vacant positions at UMMC are being considered by leadership for staffing through HMP, at this time, but it is anticipated that the opportunity may be available at a later date for UMMC employees to change employment and become HMP employees, only if they so desire. Current employees who separate from the Medical Center and accept employment with HMP would no longer have access to UMMC’s employee benefits package, but would be eligible to participate in HMP’s benefits offerings.
Currently, UMMC has requested HMP to fill only entry-level nursing and nursing-services positions, but a broader scope of clinical positions will be considered in the future.
HMP’s website can be accessed here.
You may have questions about this new staffing model, its structure and how HMP compliments UMMC’s existing clinical hiring practices. Clinical managers received additional information about this new agreement earlier today, and they may be able to answer some of your questions. A town hall meeting on this topic, scheduled for noon on Thursday, March 25, will be livestreamed on YouTube. Dr. LouAnn Woodward, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs, will host the town hall meeting and will be joined Molly Brasfield, UMMC chief human resources officer, and myself. More information about this town hall meeting - how to watch it and how to submit questions that could be answered during the livestream - will be distributed at a later date.