Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Hawaiʻi Health Systems Supported by Out-of-State Workers Through Christmas

October 26, 2020, 2:56 PM HST
* Updated October 26, 2:57 PM
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Elvie Bagay, a registered nurse at Kohala Hospital, checks patient data using the Electronic Medical Record System. Courtesy photo.

Hawai‘i’s healthcare system is being bolstered by upwards of 200 medical professionals contracted from outside the state to help manage the coronavirus crisis.

In total, more than 170 medical employees are in Hawaiʻi now through Dec. 26, 2020. They were contracted by the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH) with Ohio-based ProLink Services to support 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).

As part of a $17 million CARES Act allocation, Gov. David Ige on Monday visited an onboarding session for about 50 out-of-state healthcare workers. The visit, conducted in what the state described as 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.

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.

“All arriving personnel have met rigorous health and safety standards in the fight against COVID-19,” Department of Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char. “They are licensed, fully trained, and ready to work in Hawaiʻi’s long-term care facilities.”

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ProLink’s supplemental personnel working in Hawaiʻi’s acute care hospitals have already undergone orientation and are on the job across the state, according to a release from Gov. David Ige’s office.

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“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,” said ProLink CEO and Cofounder Tony Munafo.

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