KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With hundreds of health care workers expected to come to Missouri to assist hospitals in need, Gov. Mike Parson provided more details on which hospitals would receive the help.
Parson announced the partnership between Missouri and Vizient, a national health care performance company, on Wednesday.
At a news briefing Thursday, Parson said 12 hospitals will contract with Vizient, including North Kansas City Hospital, Saint Luke's Health System and Liberty Hospital.
Later Thursday afternoon, however, a spokeswoman for Saint Luke's said that the health system has expressed interest in the program but has not yet made a commitment to participate.
Kansas City-area hospitals have said that retirements, positive COVID-19 tests and health care workers having to quarantine all have contributed to the staffing shortage.
“The most important thing to understand is that this is an essential asset at a very critical time and will make a difference in our ability to continue to provide care to all ill Missourians," said Dave Dillon, a spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association.
In order to bring extra health care workers on, hospitals must first establish a contract with Vizient.
“They will have to, all the hospitals who are using this asset, will have to independently contract with Vizient for the purposes of legally being able to work in that hospital as well as the potential to because of the nature of the contract, pay for that employee later," Dillon said.
The contract process is underway and health care workers could arrive within the next few weeks, according to Dillon.
“Where the hospitalization rates are highest will be where they need to go and that will primarily be managed by the state and those hospitals that are participating," Dillon said.
In March, a number of Kansas City-area nurses went to New York City to help out hospitals there, but Dillon says the partnership with Vizient is much different.
Health care employees through Vizient contract with hospitals nationwide and travel for a living.
“What is probably for Missourians and potential patients to understand is that these folks are licensed in the state where they’re a resident and they are functional equivalents of the staff we have here," Dillon said.