New Jersey hospitals signing advance staffing contracts to prepare for COVID-19 surge

As COVID-19 cases rise in many areas of the U.S., New Jersey hospitals are signing advance contracts with staffing agencies to prepare for the coming months, according to NJ Spotlight.

The move by some acute care facilities is meant to ensure workforce challenges can be addressed as needed to care for patients infected with the coronavirus.

"Healthcare providers are taking the potential for a second wave very seriously. It's been a looming concern ever since the very beginning of the pandemic," Kerry McKean Kelly, vice president of communications for the New Jersey Hospital Association, told NJ Spotlight.

For example, West Orange-based RWJBarnabas Health has created its own "float pool" of critical care nurses and signed a vendor contract for additional nurses, said John Bonamo, MD, executive vice president and chief medical and quality officer, told the publication.

Concern about sufficient staffing comes as New Jersey has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases. In the past week, the state has seen an average of 1,016 cases daily, up 54 percent from the average two weeks prior, according to a New York Times database. On Oct. 20, the state reported more than 780 patients were hospitalized with either confirmed or likely COVID-19 infections, according to NJ Spotlight. That's the highest virus patient total in more than two months.

Read the full NJ Spotlight article here.


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