We know the past few weeks have been a challenge as we rolled out the COVID-19 vaccine requirements and now move forward with implementation.  We’ve asked everyone to state their intentions by filling out the attestation form, and before that deadline hits I want to address a few key points and share my sincere thoughts and hopes for the future.

First, what I have realized over the past several days is nearly all of us are grieving as a result of this decision in some form or another.  Some may feel like they’ve lost individual choice, others fear the possibility of losing their job and/or career, and still others may feel they’re losing co-workers, relationships with residents and participants, their belief in Hilltop or even in me personally.  As with all forms of grief we go through the cycles; from denial, to anger, to depression, to bargaining, and finally acceptance.  Acceptance may look different for each of us.

Hilltop made the difficult decision to require COVID-19 vaccinations. This decision has been reinforced by subsequent state and federal mandates for all healthcare facilities and all US employers with 100+ employees. Now the decision is yours to determine what is best for you. If Hilltop is no longer the best fit, the transition does not have to be adversarial.  We all chose to come and stay at Hilltop for specific reasons. And as with all relationships, things evolve.  Sometimes this means each party’s needs and wants no longer align. If Hilltop’s direction forward no longer fits your personal choice, I respect that decision, no matter the reason. We are willing to help you transition to a place that does, through exploration and references.  While I hope you will decide to stay with Hilltop, ultimately, I want you to find the place that best fits you.

I have been asked if Hilltop has ever gone through a situation like this in our past.  The answer is yes.  Hilltop made the difficult decision to sell the majority of our business to St. Mary’s Hospital in 1995.  We went from 450 employees to 100 overnight.  Many Hilltoppers experienced similar emotions. Some needed to switch employers, others chose not to go to St. Mary’s, and others found new positions within Hilltop. It was a time of extreme stress and tension. Once the decision was made, we did all we could to help everyone through their transitions. After a period of time, the Hilltop of today was created.

As I have said since the pandemic’s beginning, I believe that “Together, WE Got This!”  I know we are at our best when we are all pulling in the same direction.

As we all work to aggressively manage the daily effects of the pandemic by reducing the direct threat to our residents, participants and co-workers, we can focus on serving our seniors, meeting the needs of the youth, providing safety net services to our communities, sustaining our business for the future, and getting back to connecting and growing together as one Hilltop.

Hilltop’s near future includes exciting expansion plans, aggressive wage scale adjustments, a stimulating equity, diversity and inclusion plan, new opportunities with community partners, and a strong Hilltop culture. I sincerely hope each of you choose to stay and continue to use your talents in serving our residents, participants, and community. We want you to be a part of our bright, fun, and energetic future!

Together, we got this!