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More Than 500 Out-of-State Healthcare Workers to Help Hawaiʻi Amid COVID Surge

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More than 500 healthcare workers from out of state will arrive at 19 local hospitals through a partnership among the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency and the Healthcare Association of Hawaiʻi.

The first workers arrived on Hawaiʻi Island last week and were deployed to Hilo Medical Center and Kona Hospital. More are expected to arrive over the next three weeks. Each worker is expected to serve an eight-week stint.

The workers will be paid using $46 million in funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Last September, the health department contracted ProLink Healthcare to bring more than 200 out-of-state workers to Hawaiʻi. That contract has been extended for the current staffing crisis.

“The needs in the hospitals have dramatically increased primarily because of the highly transmissible delta variant. Our emergency rooms, medical-surge units and intensive care units are being overwhelmed with patients who have not been vaccinated,” said Hilton Raethel, CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, in a statement.

“Access to staffing resources is critically important for all of the acute facilities to improve access to care. The speed at which this has come together has been outstanding, and we are grateful for the continued partnerships," he said.

Those arriving include 150 critical care nurses, 184 telemetry nurses, 94 medical-surgical nurses, 37 respiratory therapists, 71 emergency department nurses, and other health care professionals.

The incoming healthcare staffers must be fully vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis.

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