CoxHealth hires 35 traveling healthcare professionals through Gov. Parson’s Vizient partnership program

Published: Jan. 21, 2021 at 9:04 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Traveling nurses and other healthcare workers are still needed here in the Ozarks to help local hospitals that have been stretched thin while treating COVID-19 patients.

Last month, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced a partnership with the staffing company Vizient to bring more than 700 healthcare workers to the state.

CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards tells KY3 the hospital system has more than 330 traveling healthcare professionals in its system right now. The governor’s partnership is just one of the many ways they’re working to bring staff here to the Ozarks.

”We’ve got people from Georgia, Florida and Texas, from all over the country to come into Springfield,” Edwards said.

CoxHealth has added hundreds of new beds for COVID-19 patients. Edwards said each new bed requires additional staff.

”Because the governor acted on this, it brought resources to our community that I think we’d be struggling [without], to take care of our community,” Edwards said.

Gov. Parson’s partnership with the staffing group Vizient has brought 35 new healthcare workers to CoxHealth, so far.

”We onboarded eight more today,” Edwards said. “Some of those are critical care nurses [and] some of them are respiratory therapists. “

The additional help allows the hospital to save lives that go beyond state lines.

”Last night we received a transfer for a patient from Louisiana and the referring physician said they had tried 30 hospitals until they got ahold of CoxHealth,” Edwards said. “Because we built capacity, we’ve got more ability to take care of our community and others.”

Workers are contracted to stay in the Ozarks for twelve weeks.

”They are an enormous help because our staff has been tired, and to know there is cavalry that has come to help them, it’s one thing the governor can do to help the state overall,” Edwards said.

Through federal coronavirus relief funding, the state pays for one-third of the fees.

”Then, the hospitals will commit to the latter two months,” Edwards said. “The reason some hospitals didn’t want to do this is because it’s very expensive.”

Edwards said CoxHealth is hoping to hire on more workers through this program. CoxHealth is also hiring for full-time positions.

Mercy Hospital chose not to take part in the program, though they are still hiring right now. A Mercy spokesperson tells KY3 they are especially in need of nurses, and the hospital system is even offering a $20,000 sign-on bonus to registered nurses with five or more years of experience.

Ozarks Healthcare also decided to opt out of this program.

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