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Maui Memorial to receive staffing help

19 nurses and 2 respiratory therapists funded by CARES Act

Maui Memorial Medical Center will be receiving 19 registered nurses and two respiratory therapists from out of state over the next four months funded by $14 million in federal CARES Act money Gov. David Ige released to support health care capacity statewide.

More than 200 nurses and other specialists were being hired for hospitals statewide, the Health Department said Thursday. The department, in collaboration with the Healthcare Association of Hawai’i, contracted ProLink Healthcare, a Cincinnati-based health care staffing company, to provide specialized personnel for Maui Memorial, Kuakini Medical Center, The Queen’s Medical Center, Adventist Health Castle, Hilo Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center, Straub Medical Center, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children and Pali Momi Medical Center.

Maui Memorial spokeswoman Tracy Dallarda said Thursday that three nurses will start Monday, nine more nurses and one respiratory therapist on Oct. 4 and seven nurses and one respiratory therapist on Nov. 2. All workers are on eight-week contracts, she said.

“These positions will replace our current rapid response nurses that arrived a few weeks ago,” said Dallarda. “These positions are also filling several open positions while we continue our recruitment efforts for permanent staff. They also provide the additional staff that is required if there is a COVID surge.”

The new temporary workers also may allow “some of the regular staff to take a few well-deserved vacation days,” she said.

There were two COVID-19 patients at Maui Memorial as of Wednesday afternoon, the Health Department reported Thursday.

“As Hawaii faces increases in hospitalizations due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the Department of Health wants to be sure our hospitals have sufficient surge capacity,” said Dr. Elizabeth Char, director of health. “During their time here, these experienced health care staff will be providing critical patient care as well as respite for our dedicated local health care workforce.”

As essential workers, the out-of-state traveler nurses will be allowed to work with an exemption from the mandatory 14-day quarantine, and they will be regularly tested for COVID-19, the Health Department said.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.

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