ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello held a press conference Monday to announce new measures aimed at improving staffing retention, recruitment, and the career pipeline at Monroe Community Hospital.

“Like so many things, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t create the staffing crisis we’re seeing in long-term care facilities and nursing homes throughout Monroe County and New York state,” Bello said. “Instead, it exacerbated an existing problem that can no longer go unaddressed.

Bello was joined by the Executive Health Director at Monroe Community Hospital Alyssa Tallo, Western Region President of CSEA Steve Healy, Vice President of Economic Development, Workforce and Career Technical Training at Monroe Community College Todd Oldham and CEO of Common Ground Health Wade Norwood.

To address staff turnover at MCH, Bello says Monroe County has implemented pay increases for CNAs, LPNs, and RNs, as well as the creation of new leadership positions for additional growth opportunities for current and future employers. Bello added that in an effort to improve new employee recruitment with the creation of a new nursing recruiter position.

Bello says the county received approval for these pay increases from the Civil Service Commission earlier this month.

“My administration and the leadership at Monroe Community Hospital have been working together over the last several months to develop a strategy to improve the pipeline of nursing and support staff at Monroe Community Hospital, and are committed to ensure the residents of our facility continue to receive the best service and care possible,” Bello said.

Earlier this month, lawmakers had called for an investigation into the hospital and the treatment of the employees at the hospital.

Lawmakers with the Black and Asian Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature say there have been reports of poor working conditions, and overworking personnel due to short staffing and mistreatment.

“The county executive understood the importance of this facility right away,” Tallo said. “He knew that we needed focused support to withstand COVID-19 and come out the other end, ready and able to tackle the systemic issues that are impacting the workforce pipeline for caregivers. This is a community-wide problem, which requires a community-wide solution.”

To attract new talent and improve the career pipeline at Monroe Community Hospital, Bello announced a new partnership with Monroe Community College to provide advanced training and education to accelerate job growth and advancement within MCH’s nursing staff. Bellow says this will bolster MCC’s health care program, and give employees a chance to grow their career and advance within the organization.

“Through this partnership, MCC has trained over 600 new workers for critical clinical support roles in our community,” Oldham said.

Bello has asked Common Ground Health to convene a long-term care task force to identify critical issues contributing to staff turnover rates in facilities throughout Monroe County.

“While our community’s older-adult population continues to grow significantly, the long-term care system has not kept pace,” Norwood said. “Common ground Health looks forward to working with Monroe County and engaging a task force to create a plan and meet the community’s long-term care needs, including recruiting, training, and retaining a diverse skilled and home-health-care nursing workforce.”

“Often overlooked and under appreciated, CSEA frontline workers here at Monroe Community Hospital need to be heard and should always be part of the conversation when discussions how to collectively look forward,” Healy said. “The spirit of cooperation we are seeing from all sides, stakeholders — and the level of collaboration can only be described as progress. CSEA believes a new initiative from Monroe County to Monroe Community Hospital is fundamentally sound and a brilliant idea. During the height of this pandemic we have seen labor and management work hand in hand to create new efficiencies and policies.”

Members of the Black and Asian Caucus in the Monroe County Legislator, who previously called for changes to be implemented at Monroe Community Hospital, released the following statements Monday:

“We are glad that the Bello Administration has listened to the workers that voiced their concerns to us and it is a reminder that when somebody speaks up, they will be heard,” said Black and Asian Democratic Caucus Leader Ernest Flagler-Mitchell.

“While I applaud the County Executive for taking these steps, this does not eliminate the need for a governing board, and the whistle-blower’s allegations must still be investigated,” said Monroe County Legislator Vincent Felder.

Full press conference:

This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.