Why Baptist Health isn't rushing employees back to the office

Rick Carrico, CFO of Louisville, Ky.-based Baptist Health, may not have fully anticipated the extent of the system's shift to remote working when he joined in December, but he's right behind the idea, along with many of his colleagues.

"I haven't heard from anyone that they cannot wait to get back into the office," he told Becker's in an interview. "There are more pluses than negatives, but it is an adjustment."

That adjustment is particularly acute when it comes to recruiting new staff who have to get used to the company culture of remote work at the same time they try to immerse themselves in the overall values of the health system, he added.

Front-line clinical staff are clearly less able to work remotely, but Baptist Health is planning on giving nurses, for example, more flexibility in their work, something that goes back to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Carrico said.

"We are trying to meet workers on their terms because of the workforce shortage," he said. "We want to try and accommodate things to allow nurses to be more flexible."

Capital plans

Part of the strategic shift is the recent move to smaller corporate headquarters in the Louisville metro area in Jeffersontown, Ky., described as a so-called "hotel space," or the practice of hoteling office space to offer flexibility in reserving a desk or room when people come into the office to work.

In addition, the brick-and-mortar makeup of a typical health system is not being forgotten, with approximately $1 billion in capital projects across the entire network of nine hospitals and other facilities in Baptist's home state as well as Southern Indiana.

One of those projects, a 40-bed rehabilitation facility on the new corporate headquarters site, broke ground three weeks ago, Mr. Carrico said. A hybrid urgent care and ER facility has also been completed, a model Baptist is looking to build on.

"We will continue to look at how to deploy our strategic capital, but we have not stopped any significant projects," Mr. Carrico said.

Mr. Carrico, a Kentucky native, moved from his previous CFO role at 941-bed Raleigh, N.C.-based WakeMed Health and Hospitals to take on the Baptist Health role.

"It may be a cliche, but you can't cut your way to prosperity," he said.

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