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P006 Office of Facilities Management (FY17-FY19 Strategic Plan)

P006: Vacancy rate for direct care positions

Current Value


FY 2017


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Story Behind the Curve

  • There is a shortage in direct care providers nationwide.
  • There are many consequences and costs associated with a high direct care vacancy rate. High vacancy rates can negatively impact a facility's ability to provide quality care, to accept new patients, and can result in higher labor costs due to outsourced medical professional labor.
  • New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) facilities and the community program in Los Lunas experienced a 24.0% vacancy rate among direct care positions during FY17.
  • Recruitment and retention continue to be a challenge for the facilities. On the recruitment side, NMDOH cannot quickly respond to changes in market rates for direct care positions. On the retention side, it is our experience, through exit interviews, that a lack of career advancement opportunities and physically and emotionally difficult specialized care requirements contribute to the turnover of direct care staff.
  • Facilities continue to focus on recruitment by holding rapid-hire events, attending career fairs, and advertising at local colleges. They also continue to focus on retention issues through the use of exit interviews to improve employee job satisfaction.


  • State Personnel Office
  • NMDOH Human Resources Bureau
  • NMDOH Public Health Division
  • Colleges and Universities

What Works

  • Recruitment through rapid-hire events.
  • Partnering with colleges and universities to enhance training and recruitment opportunities.
  • Marketing our vacancies and the benefits of employment with the State of New Mexico.


  • Continue to hold rapid-hire events to recruit health care staff.
  • Continue working with various professional schools throughout the state to enhance training and recruitment opportunities.
  • Research new and innovative methods of recruiting health care staff.
  • Collaborate with partners in developing opportunities to share resources in recruiting and advertising.

Action Plan

  • FY17: Explore efficiencies in the way services can be provided and share talent and resources within the Department to utilize resources in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Completed.
  • FY17: Develop a task force for recruitment and retention of health care staff, and particularly nurses, which is the most critical shortage area. Completed.
  • FY17: Hold frequent rapid-hire events to quickly fill direct care vacancies. Completed.

FY17 Annual Progress Summary

  • In FY17, the vacancy rate for direct care positions was 24.0%. This annual result did not meet the 10% target.
  • NMDOH continues to face challenges with recruitment and retention of direct care positions, as it is also a challenge nationwide; however, the effort of exploring and taking action on new recruitment and retention strategies is ongoing.

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