The State of Alaska has requested that 473 out-of-state medical personnel come north and help staff the state’s hospitals.
The State says there is a need for more nurses, patient care technicians, respiratory therapists, and other health care workers, and requests for proposals were made from four medical staffing companies identified by the General Service Administration.
The RFP comes at the same times all hospitals in the state are busy firing those workers who are not vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus. Some health care workers have already lost their jobs, while others are facing an October deadline.
Providence also screens out potential workers who use nicotine, compounding the problem.
Whether the State will be able to get more health care workers to travel to Alaska is unclear. Other states are also experiencing health care labor shortages and are offering attractive incentives.
Alaska already had a shortage of medical workers, but since the beginning of the pandemic, some traveling nurses have moved to places that pay better, some older nurses retired, while others left the state to be closer to family.
A look though the job listings at Providence Medical Center in Anchorage shows over 500 jobs being advertised. At the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation there are over 600 jobs listed. Even if the State was able to fill all 473 jobs it is hoping for, it will fall far short of the need.
The four companies identified as being invited to submit proposals are:
- ACI Federal
- Central Care
- DLH Solutions
- Spectrum Healthcare
The State’s RFP says the companies have 10 days to respond, but there’s no specific date for when health care personnel might arrive in Alaska.
Anchorage hospital executives have led the charge in demanding that Gov. Mike Dunleavy declare another disaster and put emergency measures in place. Dunleavy has stated that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic does not fit the definition of a disaster and he is reluctant to shut down the state’s economy once again.