The Wyoming Retirement Center (WRC) welcomed new administrator Laura Moore on Aug. 13.
Moore has been a licensed administrator for 12 years and has a broad range of experience in the social work field.
Moore was born and raised in North Dakota. She went to college in Minnesota and finished in Indiana with a dual degree in writing and psychology. After she graduated in 1989, she went to work for a nursing home in Indiana as a social worker.
She worked in nursing facilities as a social worker in Minnesota for several years. Moore then found herself in Texas in 1994, working various jobs. She worked in nursing facilities as a social worker. For a few years she was employed by the state as a surveyor and program manager in the regulatory division where she handled investigations, complaints and inspections within nursing homes. Moore did regional work for a nursing facility company where she went to their buildings and did mock surveys, dementia training for staff, oversaw social services and activities. She also worked for hospice as a bereavement counselor.
Moore said she left Texas because the long-term care climate has deteriorated in the last five to seven years. There were reductions in Medicaid rates and cuts and it has the third lowest Medicaid reimbursement rate in the nation. A lot of the long-term companies were having a difficult time surviving. In the last five to seven years of her being a licensed administrator, she had seen it decline. She saw a lot of bankruptcies, companies selling out, companies not being able to pay their bills and paychecks bouncing in some places. Moore went through a bankruptcy in one company and several changes in ownership.
“The last company I was with I felt like was unstable and I decided that if I’m going to make a change, I want to go where I want to be through retirement … for the rest of my life. And I knew that it wasn’t Texas. I’ve been in Texas since 1994, but I knew I didn’t want to stay there for the rest of my life. I decided to pursue west,” she said.
Moore was looking for a state that was rural that had mountains and snow. She looked at Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington.
She found the position with WRC on indeed.com. Moore came to Basin in July and met with the team and looked around the place.
In the end, WRC was the position that was the most appealing to what she was looking for. The physical environment around the area was appealing and the core group and the staff at the center were committed to the home. She said the potential to make WRC more than it is now is huge. She wanted to come and be a part of improving, changing, getting more involvement in community and putting more life in it.
Moore has several plans for WRC.
The major goal right now is to get staffing to a more stable level, which is a problem for healthcare in the nation. She said part of the goal is to improve the culture inside the building so employees are happy to be at work and make it a more welcoming, supportive environment for the staff, which in the end will improve the delivery of the care they are providing to the residents.
“The care is good, but it makes it challenging when staff is so unstable, when you don’t have enough staff and you are recruiting and having to use an agency. It makes it really difficult to focus on improving the delivery of our systems,” she said.
They have a program and are currently doing a CNA class with six students that are employed with the center as NSAs. Their goal is to hire NSAs and get them interested and put them through the training as CNAs. Moore said that she knows several of them want to be nurses, so they want to be a path for them and provide resources.
The center has hired a staff development coordinator to improve and expand the staff skills.
She also wants the center to have more involvement within the community. She said that it seems like the last couple of years have seen a decrease of involvement within the community.
Moore wants the building to be a resource for the community and not just nursing home type things. She wants to see support groups provided that deal with all sorts of things from grief to being a caregiver for someone at home. She said that the management team talked about the possibility of every month or two having an education session open to the community like basics of diabetes, different health conditions or social issues.
“We have all kind of things that we can be doing to help the community at large — not just the elderly or the population of people that just need assistance with living that live here. There is so much more that we can do.”
When it comes to Wyoming, Moore likes being in the state. She loves the weather, outdoors and the rural area. “The people are just good people here,” she said. She added that it’s different coming from a metro area where people don’t know each other as well.
She said that here, everybody gets to know each other and that they are there for each other when something happens.
“You can’t beat that,” she added.
Her mother and dogs came with her to Basin. She has an older brother that lives in North Dakota.
She has gotten to venture around Yellowstone, Cody and the Ten Sleep area. She wants to go to Yellowstone in the winter and take a photography tour.
By Jessica Robinson