PA Department of Health Deploys Nursing and Respiratory Teams to Crozer Health
On Friday, January 28, Pennsylvania deployed a team of nurses and therapists to Crozer Health to help alleviate the health system’s staffing and capacity issues. This is part of the Wolf Administration’s initiative to support Pennsylvania’s health care organizations dealing with staffing shortages amid the latest COVID-19 surge, and in response to a request for resources from Crozer Health.
Crozer Health– like many other health systems locally and across the country – has been struggling to find enough nurses and therapists to care for its patients. To help reduce the strain, a team of nurses and therapists was deployed to Crozer Health by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to fill in temporarily in three of its hospitals. Nurses and therapists have also been deployed to other hospitals in Pennsylvania experiencing similar challenges.
“Our patient care resources have been strained due to the national nursing shortage and many colleagues out sick with COVID-19, and this help will alleviate some of the pressure throughout our health system,” said Peter Adamo, CEO of Crozer Health. “I can’t thank the nurses and therapists, and the Wolf administration, enough for helping our hospitals and teams who are deeply committed to our patients and communities.”
The team, which will be on-site at Crozer Health hospitals for 14 days, includes 20 registered nurses and 4 respiratory therapists from the Philadelphia area provided through GHR Healthcare under a contract with the PA Department of Health. Eight will assist each day, working at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Delaware County Memorial Hospital, and Taylor Hospital.
“I am pleased that we are able to fulfill Crozer Health’s request for staffing assistance,” said Acting Secretary of Health Keara Klinepeter when announcing the deployment. “We want to ensure hospitals and healthcare workers are ready to care for everyone who comes in now and we want hospitals to develop their own longer-term sustainable staffing solutions. We know that staffing resources are scarce and will be prioritized to address the most acute needs and maximize system-wide impact.”
Christine Mendez, RN, MSN, Crozer Health’s Chief Nurse Executive, also expressed her gratitude for the additional resources.
“We are all so grateful to these nurses and therapists for helping us,” said Mendez. “Our greatest needs right now are in the ICU and on the night shift, and their help there is invaluable.”
Dr. Monica Taylor, Delaware County Chair, shared her appreciation for those providing Crozer Health with this critical staffing support.
“Thank you to the State and PEMA for assisting Crozer Health during this critical time. The nationwide nursing shortage and surge in COVID-19 cases has been extremely challenging for health care facilities, and the State’s assistance in deploying the strike team will ensure that Crozer Health can continue to care for and treat our residents,” she said. “I also want to once again commend the County’s Medical Reserve Corps who have been assisting local hospitals – serving in - both medical and non-medical roles including assisting nurses, providing patient comfort, sanitizing medical equipment, and assisting health care staff.”
Crozer Health recognizes that this support alone will not solve its staffing issues. The health system has been utilizing a variety of tactics to help recruit and retain talented staff. These include sign-on bonuses, creating a Student Loan Forgiveness Program to help those in various disciplines who are carrying student loan debt, developing a Nurse Residency Program for new nurses, fostering relationships with local nursing schools, and paying extra shift bonuses. The organization also offers significant referral bonuses and a robust compensation and benefits package.
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