PLYMOUTH MEETING — When Temple University’s Liacouras Center opens Thursday as a "surge facility" for Philadelphia COVID-19 patients, it opens with staff provided by a Montgomery County healthcare staffing firm.
General Healthcare Resources of Plymouth Meeting has been named the healthcare staffing partner for the new field hospital, responsible for all clinical support staffing.
General Healthcare Resources has relationships with many healthcare facilities across the region and the country, according to CEO John Quirk, and has worked with the city of Philadelphia before.
"GHR has been the leading staffing provider of healthcare professionals to the greater Philadelphia area for over 27 years. Finding qualified clinical support personnel for this location is our number one priority," he said in a press release, adding that the facility will play an important role in the city’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Quirk added that as soon as the company heard there was a possibility the surge facility would open at the Liacouras Center, General Healthcare Resources staff was in contact with those leading the project.
“We had been in constant communication with them, although we weren’t sure when or how it would start. As of last Friday night as more details came out, it was ‘all hands on deck,’” Quirk said Wednesday.
A collaborative effort between FEMA and state and city agencies, the COVID surge facility at the Liacouras Center will be managed by the city's Department of Public Health. The plan is to use the site to provide 24/7 care to recovering COVID-19 patients ages 18 and over.
The facility has been outfitted with 180 beds but can expand to 200, according to a spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Health.
The first set of 36 patients will be moved to the center on Thursday, according to General Healthcare Resources President Laura Magner, who said the company began recruiting for personnel about two weeks ago.
Orientation for the first team of staff was held Wednesday afternoon. The first team, Magner said, includes acute care registered nurses (med/surg, ICU, triage, charge), CNAs, medical assistants, pharmacists, pharm techs, respiratory therapists and other clinical support staff.
“We have a large group in place for the first day. We wanted to make sure they had enough support to care for the patients,” she said Wednesday.
The first group will manage those first 36 patients as recruiting for additional team members continues.
“If they get to capacity, we envision five to six teams. Another orientation class will be held on April 20 and we will hold the classes weekly,” she said.
Magner said respiratory therapists are in high demand, as are RNs and medical assistants.
“The healthcare community has really wanted to step up and help this facility. People want to help these patients recover,” she said, adding that while it is a competitive market, General Healthcare Resources has been successful in deploying the right level of staffing.
"We are leaving no stone unturned in our search for qualified personnel to fully staff the facility,” she said in a statement. “If you are an experienced acute care RN, respiratory therapist, CNA, PCT or medical assistant, and are interested in helping our community in the fight against COVID-19, please contact us. We'd love to talk to you."
Anyone interested in a position can visit www.GHResources.com to see available jobs and apply. They can also reach out directly to Travis Freed, managing director, acute care by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 570-847-4527.
Recruiting and personnel placement is expected to continue over the next few weeks, while the surge facility ramps up.
General Healthcare Resources was founded in 1993 and specializes in the sourcing, recruiting and placement of behavioral health, healthcare IT, travel nurse and educational personnel in healthcare and human services environments including hospitals, long-term care facilities, emergency care clinics, nursing homes and outpatient clinics.
Magner said the company has 200 internal employees and 2,200 to 2,700 employees working in healthcare facilities on a weekly basis.