TriHealth: Partnering to be the Employer of Choice

This article was written by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, designating TriHealth Inc. (southern Ohio) as a CareerSTAT Frontline Healthcare Worker Champion employer. 

TriHealth is Cincinnati’s fifth largest employer, bringing together two acute care hospitals and more than 120 locations. TriHealth provides a wide range of clinical, educational, preventive, and social programs. TriHealth’s on-hospital services include physician practice management, occupational health centers, home health, and hospice care. Working Mother magazine recognized TriHealth as one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Moms,” a designation it has received nine times. Truven Health Analytics has named TriHealth as one of the nation’s top 15 health systems.

In 2009, TriHealth seized an opportunity to partner with the Health Careers Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati (HCC) to provide greater access to learning and foster advancement for entry-level employees. The HCC is a partnership of local healthcare employers, community-based organizations, and educators.

HCC programs include:
– Associate’s Degree Cohorts: TriHealth selects participants with little or no prior college education to form a supportive cohort that will stay together from start to graduation. Students can obtain degrees in nursing, surgical technology, respiratory therapy, and medical lab technician. Supports for these cohorts include:
» Tuition billed to the employer
» Assistance for remediation courses, when necessary
» A career coach who supports job search upon graduation
» A community college advisor
» Specially scheduled evening sections for HCC courses and no wait list for clinical courses

– School at Work®: SAW provides on-site learning opportunities, enabling employees to stay on the clock while attending weekly two-hour lessons on professional and academic skills. TriHealth builds in additional instruction in basic literacy, mathematics, and interviewing.

– CareerCare: This web-based career exploration tool allows participants to learn more about healthcare career options. 100 employees went through the pilot program and TriHealth is planning to offer it again. Several entry-level participants have applied for promotions or enrolled in college.

– Patient Care Assistant (PCA) Training: TriHealth pays the tuition cost and hourly wages for incumbents and new hires moving into the PCA role. This can include up to three weeks of full-time training for those who are not already State Tested Nurse Assistants (STNA).

In fiscal year 2013:
>> 137 State Tested Nurse Assistant and Patient Care Assistant trainees completed their training.
>> 10 employees graduated from SAW.
>> 2 HCC participants attained an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, passed the NCLEX exam, and were promoted to Staff Nurse positions.
>> 20 trainees achieved their STNA certificates; 64 trainees achieved their PCA certificates.


Reduced Turnover:
– Turnover was 5.7 percent for SAW participants vs. 19 percent for non-SAW participants annually.
– Turnover was 1.2 percent for HCC cohort participants vs. 14.5 percent for non-HCC cohort participants.
– TriHealth estimates that it saved close to $210,000 in turnover costs by effectively retaining these employees.

Job Satisfaction:
– 65.7 percent of HCC participants indicated complete satisfaction with their job vs. 46.2 percent of non-HCC participants.

“At TriHealth, much of our success depends on our ability to attract, retain, and develop the talent we need to provide quality care. As an organization we realize the importance of developing the skills of our employees. In fact, it is a major strategic initiative of ours.” —John Prout, President and CEO, TriHealth, Inc.

A few years after starting a secretarial position at TriHealth, Stephanie enrolled in TriHealth’s School at Work® program. Later, when TriHealth offered its employees the opportunity to participate in HCC’s nursing cohort, Stephanie jumped at the chance. The prepaid tuition, additional SAW grant funds, and evening course schedule helped make her dream of becoming a scrub nurse possible. In 2012, Stephanie graduated with her ADN, obtained her license soon after, and became a staff RN for TriHealth. Her pay has increased more than 50 percent since this journey began.