Out-of-state healthcare staff helping Hawaiʻi respond to pandemic; Gov. Ige praises Hawaiʻi-based employees of The Ching Villas and Ohana Pacific Management Company for “extraordinary commitment” in caring for local kūpuna
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As part of a $17 million CARES Act allocation, Gov. David Ige today visited an onboarding session for about 50 out-of-state healthcare workers. The visit, conducted in a strictly controlled, socially distanced environment, was held at St. Francis Healthcare System in Liliha where the visiting nurses are learning the operations of Hawaiʻi’s long term care facilities.
In total, more than 170 medical employees are in Hawaiʻi now through December 26, 2020. They were contracted by the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH) with Ohio-based ProLink Services to bolster staffing at Hawaiʻi’s hospitals and long-term care facilities because of the pandemic. The effort to staff post-acute care facilities is being coordinated by the DOH and the Healthcare Association of Hawaii (HAH).
The job roles were strategically selected to provide maximum value to the state. Individual staff may not remain at the same facility for the duration of their employment. Employees can be quickly mobilized into a “strike team” to assist specific nursing homes or hospitals, should a COVID-19 cluster emerge.
“I thank the Dept. of Health and our many partners for making today a reality,” said Gov. David Ige, who visited both the traveling personnel and local healthcare employees who have been working on the frontlines since the early stages of the pandemic. “Our local healthcare employees have been working diligently, around the clock, making many personal sacrifices to ensure that the facilities they work in and our communities are safe and the spread COVID-19 is prevented. These traveling medical professionals will support and bolster Hawaiʻi’s healthcare workforce, should we experience a surge in cases.”
Dept. of Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char said, “All arriving personnel have met rigorous health and safety standards in the fight against COVID-19. They are licensed, fully trained and ready to work in Hawaiʻi’s long-term care facilities.” ProLink’s supplemental personnel working in Hawaiʻi’s acute care hospitals have already undergone orientation and are on the job across the state.
Prior to greeting the incoming healthcare workforce, Gov. Ige thanked the employees of The Ching Villas, part of Ohana Pacific Management – a 119-bed post-acute care facility - and praised their commitment to Hawaiʻi’s kūpuna. “During this pandemic, Hawaiʻi relies on you and the many others who provide care for our vulnerable seniors,” he said. “We greatly appreciate your support in protecting public health as Hawaiʻi revives our economy and begins our recovery.”
Richard Kishaba, founder of Ohana Pacific commented, “We are thankful that through our relationship with St. Francis, we were able to work with the state of Hawaiʻi and HAH to expand the capacity of our healthcare workforce. By working together, we can continue delivering great care to our community and kūpuna. This has been a trying time for all of us in the healthcare community, and it’s comforting to know that we now have extra support.”
HAH President and CEO Hilton Raethel said, “On behalf of Hawaiʻi’s healthcare delivery system, we appreciate the foresight of Gov. Ige and the Dept. of Health. This staffing assistance should assure Hawaiʻi that we are prepared for anything that may occur, from a third wave of COVID-19 to a severe flu season. The healthcare workforce has been stretched thin since the onset of the pandemic, and these reinforcements are coming at the right time and with ideal skill sets.”
ProLink CEO and Cofounder Tony Munafo said, “ProLink is proud to have partnered with Hawaiʻi’s healthcare leaders in implementing clinical workforce solutions throughout these critical weeks and months to ensure patient care delivery across the islands.” ProLink Director of Clinical Solutions Mary Hamilton added: “Leading up to – and throughout – these assignments, the ProLink team is in constant communication with our clinicians, coordinating everything from regulatory compliance, to onboarding itineraries and monitoring with regular status checks. These clinicians are tested for COVID prior to beginning patient care and are following the DOH and CDC guidelines throughout their assignments. This collaborative effort has, and will continue to provide continuity of high-quality patient care for Hawaiʻi’s community.”