HONOLULU – More than 500 experienced overseas medical professionals will be deployed to 19 hospitals across the country in the coming weeks with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Hawaii will receive $ 46 million in federal funding to attract traveling health care workers through ProLink Healthcare HR services.

Last weekend, 46 clinicians were dispatched to Hilo Medical Center and Kona Hospital on the Island of Hawaii to meet increased needs resulting from the surge in COVID-19 cases. The remaining employees are scheduled to arrive in Hawaii and be deployed over the next three weeks. They are expected to work in Hawaii for eight weeks each.

This is the second time Hawaii has received personnel assistance during the pandemic. Last September, the Hawaii Department of Health, in partnership with the Healthcare Association of Hawai’i, secured and secured $ 14 million in federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to recruit 140 travel staff for hospitals an additional $ 3 million to hire 70 health workers to support long-term care workers.

In the first round of appointments last fall, more than 200 extra-state nurses and other specialists were sent to hospitals over a four-month period to supplement local hospital staff.

Dr. Elizabeth Char, director of the Department of Health, served as a senior medical advisor on the initial contract with ProLink Healthcare, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based healthcare provider. The previous contract with ProLink was extended to meet the current staffing needs in the doctor’s office.

“In anticipation of the need for more hospital staff, the Department of Health began working with the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency to obtain emergency funding from FEMA,” said Char. “The collaboration and teamwork with HI-EMA and the Healthcare Association of Hawai’i have enabled us to make this a success in less than a month.”

Staff will reinforce local health workers at Kuakini Medical Center, The Queen’s Medical Center (in Honolulu, West O’ahu, Molokai General and North Hawai’i), Adventist Health Castle, Hilo Medical Center, Hale Ho’ola Hamakua, Kona Community Hospital, Maui Memorial Medical Center, Wahiawa General, Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center, Straub Medical Center, Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, Pali Momi Medical Center, Wilcox Hospital, Kaua’i Veterans Memorial Hospital, Samuel Mahelona Medical Center, and Hawaii im State hospital.

Most of the jobs are for medical-surgical nurses, critical care nurses, and telemetry nurses. The remaining positions include respiratory therapists, emergency room nurses, medical technicians, and behavioral practitioners.

The breakdown includes 150 intensive care nurses, 184 telemetry nurses, 94 medical-surgical nurses, 37 respiratory therapists, 71 emergency room nurses and other health professionals.

All health care workers outside the state must provide evidence that they are fully vaccinated or that they are regularly tested for COVID-19.

“As the Delta variant led to an increase in cases across the country, working together as a group improves our ability to get the funding Hawaii needs,” said Luke Meyers, administrator of the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency. “This approach also ensures that smaller, rural hospitals, particularly in the neighboring islands, receive the support they need and are not overlooked to ensure equitable access to health care for all Hawaiian residents.”