Making learning about safety interesting: Facility Compliance Manager Beth Fearing holds bling given away at this year’s Safety Carnival.
We wish a happy retirement to Beth Fearing, our long-time Facility Compliance Advisor, whose final work day here was Monday, Dec. 16.
Beth made sure that La Hacienda met operational, health, and safety standards set by the Joint Commission, the State of Texas and insurance companies. And she handled patient rights issues and patient grievances.
“She is one of the kindest and most patient people I have ever known,” says Sherri Layton, Outpatient Services Administrator and one of Beth’s leadership contemporaries. “Those qualities made her especially suited for working with patients’ concerns.”
“She is a great listener. People always feel they will be heard and that she will be fair.”
A Slow Start
Beth came to La Hacienda 29 years ago. She almost didn’t stay three weeks.
She left a job on the Mo-Ranch ropes course to come help in activities therapy at La Hacienda. “I was not happy at first. I missed Mo-Ranch,” she recalls. But she stuck with it and came to love the people and the place.
At first, Beth worked part time in the Special Care Unit and part-time in the Behavioral Health Unit. When the latter was moved off campus then discontinued, she moved into other positions.
Risk Management Introduction
One of those was risk management. When the supervisor left, she recommended to then Executive Director Frank Sadlack that Beth take over risk management. She accepted the offer with the promise that she would receive more training.
“Those were lean times. The former owners had taken everything—their policies and their patients. We started from ground zero,” says Beth. “We were lucky if we had ten patients.”
The management team literally rebuilt the treatment center’s operational policies. And dealt with other issues.
Cats, Cats, Cats!
Feral cats were a problem from the beginning of her tenure, says Beth. They were eating out of the La Hacienda dumpsters.
“I proposed a trap, neuter, and release program. Of course, that meant it became my baby.”
The first year almost 100 cats were caught and neutered. Some were taken elsewhere to be barn or house cats. Some stayed, but the campus population stayed in check for about ten years. Then it started increasing again.
“I think people knew about the program and dumped cats here.”
“We’ve done the best we can. The owners and Art have been very supportive, and the program will continue.”
Servants’ Hearts and Good Choices
Asked what makes working at La Hacienda special, Beth responds, “the people.”
“Most everybody working here loves what they are doing and loves the patients. The staff all seem to have servant hearts.”
She also credits the owners.
“They put their hearts and their money into this place. They make decisions for the facility based on long-term goals. They go with the best.”
For the last two decades, Beth has been a part of the management team headed by Executive Director Art VanDivier.
“She handled so many things — even stray cats. I am amazed by her patience, steadiness and reliability. Beth is someone I could rely on,” says Art. “She has meant so much to La Hacienda and me.”
Sherri Layton, who shares experiences with Beth going back to their ropes course days, expresses what most of her co-workers feel.
“Beth will be missed by all of us who know and love her, but we are so excited for her to have this opportunity to retire and spend tons of time with her kids and grandkids!”
Beth is going to split her retirement years between living nearby, up the North Fork of the Guadalupe with her son, and in Idaho with her daughter. She will assist both with the businesses they operate out of their homes, so her retirement has an asterisk. But there are perks.
Her retirement gift from her daughter is a trip to Italy in March.
Buon viaggio, Beth!