Gov. Brown announces deal to send additional health care workers to hospitals statewide

Governor Kate Brown announced a deal last week with medical staffing companies — Jogan Health Solutions and AMN Healthcare — to deploy around 560 travel health care professionals into hospitals statewide to address the influx of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 surges. 

 

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The state’s finalized contract with Jogan Health Solutions deploys “hospital crisis teams” with a total of 500 health care personnel to hospitals in Central and Southern Oregon and to long-term care facilities, where help is greatly needed. AMN Healthcare is adding 60 more nurses and clinical workers for the state. 

Gov. Brown said:

“The deployment of crisis response teams should provide some welcome relief to our hospitals, particularly in Central and Southern Oregon, that are overwhelmed given the recent surge in hospitalizations among mostly unvaccinated individuals. The hospital crisis we are facing isn’t just about beds — it’s about having enough trained health care professionals to treat patients. I am so pleased that we will be able to provide these resources to help our hospitals and long-term care facilities meet increased demand and can continue to provide vital health care to Oregonians.”

Under the contract with Jogan Health Solutions, the hospital crisis teams will assist the St. Charles health System in the Bend/Redmond areas and the Asante hospitals in the Medford/Ashland/Grants Pass areas. The teams will also assist the Providence-Medford Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg. 

The teams incorporate 300 registered nurses (RNs), 61 certified nursing assistants (CNAs), 34 respiratory therapists, 20 paramedics, and 5 medical technicians. These teams also have the flexibility to move to other hospitals depending on where the greatest demand is. 

The contract also encompasses 10 long-term care crisis response teams made up of three RNs and five CNAs per team. These teams will help build capacity for these facilities and assist with timely discharge and transfer. 

Patrick Allen, director of OHA, said:

“This is a much-needed infusion of qualified medical personnel that can help us get through this critical time in the COVID-19 pandemic. These crisis teams will be completely re-deployable. We will be working with the Regional Resource Hospitals and Incident Management Team to move hospital crisis teams to other hospitals and long-term care crisis teams to other long-term care facilities, where the need is greatest.”

Currently in Oregon, hospitals are bursting at the seams. According to Gov. Brown, hospitalizations have jumped more than 990% since July 9. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported that only 6% — or 39 total beds — were available in the intensive care unit (ICU) as of Aug. 30. Regions 1-9 represent seven notable regions across Oregon which can be found here.

 

Image: Oregon Health Authority

 

Oregon hospitals’ capacity concerns have continued for the last few months coupled with attempts to assist hospitals. Gov. Brown and other Oregon lawmakers submitted letters to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requesting additional health care personnel in hospitals earlier this month. 

Matt Calzia, a nurse practice consultant for Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), cautioned the reliance on travel nursing to fulfil staffing needs. Continuously using travel nursing is not wise financially due to competition, said Calzia. He said travel teams also do not lead to the most efficient workforce dynamics due to continually changing personnel.