For Canyonlands Care Center’s staff members and residents alike, the next week and a half will be a time of transition.
Roy Barraclough is getting ready to step down as the 36-bed long-term care facility’s administrator, and in his place, Barbara Grossman will be taking over.
The two will be working side by side throughout next week, and then Grossman will officially take charge.
Moab Regional Hospital CEO Robb Austin said the search for Barraclough’s replacement spanned from Maine to California. Over time, the search team narrowed the field of candidates down from 20 to 30 applicants to three people before it finally offered Grossman the job.
“Barbara came out just shining,” Austin said.
Grossman was so eager for the opportunity, he joked, that she accepted the position while he was still in mid-sentence.
“I couldn’t get the words out fast enough before she said yes,” he said.
Although Grossman will be working for the care center, she will technically be an employee of Moab Valley Healthcare ― better known as Moab Regional Hospital.
The two entities’ governing bodies are in the process of working out a separate agreement that would allow the hospital to assume management responsibilities for the care center. As those negotiations continue, the care center’s board asked Moab Valley Healthcare to recruit Barraclough’s replacement, according to Canyonlands Health Care Special Service District Board chairman Doug Fix.
Grossman comes to the job from the San Juan Center in Farmington, New Mexico, where she’s served as administrator for the last two years. The 93-bed short-term and long-term center is one of more than 400 facilities that the private, for-profit company Genesis HealthCare operates in 28 states.
While it’s part of a much larger corporate network, the San Juan Center faces a unique set of cultural challenges, given its proximity to the Navajo Nation.
Grossman said she is aware of the different challenges that Moab’s care center faces, including a high employee turnover rate.
“I hope that we can be creative in recruiting and retaining the folks there,” she said.
Canyonlands is also a smaller facility than she’s used to, but Grossman said she’s up for that adjustment, too.
“I’m really excited about joining the team up there,” she said. “Robb and everyone else have given me a really warm welcome. I think it will be a good fit.”
Grossman has worked in the long-term care field since 2003, when she began to work as a social services director. But she came to her current profession later in life.
She grew up in Cortez, Colorado, and although she lived for a time in Monticello and Moab, she spent the early part of her career as a Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department patrol sergeant. At the time, she was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and due to the time constraints, she left the department when her daughter Kristyn was two years old.
Eventually, she and her family relocated to Grand Junction, Colorado, and Grossman went to work for Mesa County’s Medicaid office, where she specialized in adult protective and eligibility services.
After her daughter went off to college at Colorado Mesa University, Grossman obtained her master’s degree in health care administration. With her administrator’s license in hand, she went on to work as an interim administrator at facilities in the greater Denver area and Durango, Colorado.
When she arrived at the San Juan Center about two years ago, it was tarnished with a one-star rating from Medicaid’s Nursing Home Compare website.
But she and her staff made significant progress during her first year on the job there, she said, and when Medicaid issued its next report, the rating jumped up to five stars.
After her experiences there, Grossman said she’s sorry to leave her current staff members behind. But she’s ultimately eager to be closer to her family in Grand Junction.
“I have an amazing facility here and a lot of good people I work with,” she said. “It’s been an emotional challenge for me, as well, but my heart is with my daughter.”
While Grossman is hoping that it will be the last move she makes before she retires, Barraclough will be celebrating his impending retirement beyond Moab.
He first arrived in town in 2006, and he quickly joined the process to improve the community’s existing health care system as the hospital’s CEO. That process led to the eventual replacement of the aging Allen Memorial Hospital with a new facility on Williams Way, as well as the addition of new medical services in town.
Barraclough soon learned that the job would be both easier and harder than he originally thought it would be.
“(It was) harder due to the then-current condition of the hospital’s physical plant and financial operations, but easier due to the quality and commitment of the staff and the community in truly helping with the initiative,” he told the Moab City Council on Oct. 28.
The community broke ground on the new Moab Regional Hospital facility in August 2009, and then moved operations to the site two years later.
The care center set up in the same building, and in 2013, Barraclough took over as its administrator.
Now that he’s preparing to move on, Barraclough said that he and his wife will fondly remember their years in Moab.
“We’ve spent over half of my career in rural settings, but none have had as much of an impact on our professional and personal lives as has this assignment,” he said.
In Barraclough’s eyes, the residents of this community are unique: They’re opinionated and fearless in their approach to issues ― often without a clear understanding of all the factors, he said.
“But what sets them apart from the communities we’ve known elsewhere is their undying passion for protecting, often in their own ways, what this community is and has to offer. We will miss that passion and that commitment,” he said.
Moab City Council member Kirstin Peterson, who serves as the council’s special service district board representative, said she appreciates Barraclough’s time and dedication under some trying circumstances.
Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison also gave a shout out to Barraclough for his role in upgrading the local health care system.
“I’d like to say, I don’t think we could have done it without you,” Sakrison said.
Barbara Grossman will replace Roy Barraclough