[Photo by Rudy Herndon / Moab Sun News]

Canyonlands Care Center’s new administrator looks a lot like its interim director.

In fact, they’re one and the same person.

After four months on the job in a temporary role, Kim Macfarlane officially walked into her office this week as the new head of the 36-bed long-term care facility.

Macfarlane joined the care center in early November 2015, after former administrator Barb Grossman stepped down to be closer to her family. In that short amount of time, she has shown an outstanding commitment to the facility’s staff and its residents, according to Moab Regional Hospital Director of Marketing and Community Relations Sarah Shea.

“The Canyonlands Care Center management advisory committee was extremely impressed with the compassion and care and enthusiasm that Kim gave to her role as interim director for the past four months,” Shea said.

The hospital chose Macfarlane for the job because officials there believe she can continue to improve the quality of care at the facility and expand services for its residents. But Shea said that Macfarlane’s sunny disposition was another distinguishing quality that worked in her favor.

“Her smile brightens up the CCC, and I think that’s exactly what we were looking for in the position,” Shea said.

Macfarlane, who grew up in Kaysville, has been a licensed nursing home administrator for more than 20 years. But she started out doing the same kinds of tasks that keep the care center’s team busy every hour of every day.

At the outset, she was a Certified Nursing Assistant at a nursing home. After she obtained her nursing home administrator’s license, she went on to work for four different companies before she came to Moab.

Her background in the health-care field stood out to Moab Valley Healthcare Board member Kyle Bailey and others who served on the committee that selected her last year as the care center’s interim director.

“She’s had a lot of experience over 20-plus years in care management in Utah,” Bailey said.

He said he expects that she’ll be well-positioned to proceed with the work that Grossman started to improve the once-struggling facility.

“She’s just continuing to do what (Grossman) was doing to turn around the care center,” Bailey said. “I believe that she’s doing a very good job.”

Macfarlane said she’s especially happy to continue working with the care center’s team.

“They care about the folks they serve, they are wonderful caregivers and they are interested in the community,” she said. “They’re just about being able to make this a good spot for people in (Moab). I love their passion, and I want to be a part of it.”

Volunteers are also integral to the care center’s success, she said, citing the recent example of a volunteer who took a care center resident to this week’s Banff Mountain Film Festival screenings in Moab.

“We have a great volunteer program, and we’d like to enhance that,” she said.

With the help of Canyonlands Care Center Events Director Dianne Hatch and others, the care center is also planning barbecues and outings for residents and employees, starting with one group event later this month.

Later this year, the facility is tentatively planning to hold a moonlight bike ride and other community-oriented events to raise money for a new van.

In the past, the care center has relied heavily on mineral lease revenues from oil and gas operations to help make up for funding shortfalls in other areas. But after crude oil prices in particular took a nose dive in late 2014, the facility is continuing to look elsewhere for funding, such as the federal Medicaid program.

“No one’s optimistic about the mineral lease money, to be totally honest, because of the low gas prices,” Macfarlane said.

The facility is currently almost 90 percent full. To fill the remaining beds – and to raise more money – Macfarlane is hoping to contract with the Veterans Administration for new residents. However, the care center won’t be in a position to do so until its overall Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare rating reaches at least three stars.

In 2015, the Utah Bureau of Health Facility Licensing, Certification and Resident Assessment found that the care center has corrected two minor deficiencies it received that year. In comparison, the bureau identified 23 deficiencies at the facility in 2014, resulting in a $28,000 fine and lower ratings on the Nursing Home Compare website.

Both Grossman and Macfarlane implemented changes in the meantime, and the facility’s staff rating stands at a perfect five stars. But Macfarlane said the improvements haven’t yielded overall results yet because it takes two years to recover from a one-star survey.

“You have to have two good surveys in a row,” she said.

Inspectors could arrive any time now, and in the interim, the facility is conducting audits and training to make sure that everyone understands what’s expected of them.

“We haven’t uncovered any processes that would raise any alarms,” Macfarlane told the Canyonlands Health Care Special Service District’s board last month.

When Macfarlane isn’t on the job trying to deal with those issues, she’s gradually working her way into the community. She’s serving on a National Rural Health Resource Center focus group committee for the hospital, and she expects that’s just the beginning of her involvement at the local level.

“I’m starting there, and I hope to do a lot of other things for the community,” she said.

After living in Kaysville for so long, Macfarlane said she’s thrilled to get away from the snow – and to find a place that’s so welcoming of others.

“I love the diversity here,” she said. “The folks are down to earth.”

She said she hopes to be here for the long haul, and right now, it sounds like she means it.

“This is where I’m going to retire,” she said.

Kim Macfarlane comes to the job with over 20 years of experience

Her smile brightens up the CCC, and I think that’s exactly what we were looking for in the position.

To learn more about the care center, go to canyonlandscarecenter.org, or call 435-719-4400.