Alpharetta company assigning 100s of health care workers to COVID-19 hot spots

Hospitals in areas hard-hit by COVID-19 are turning to an Alpharetta, Ga., company for emergency staffing. 

Jackson Healthcare President Shane Jackson said his company has placed in the “high hundreds” to over 1,000 workers during the last few weeks, starting in the second week of March. Some of those workers are from Georgia, he said. 

The company is working with several hospitals in New York City, which has been one of the metropolitan areas hardest hit by COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus. Jackson declined to name its client hospitals there. 

“We are in direct constant contact with them about what they need, and we are working with our pool of nurses and doctors to send them to them,” he said in an April 3 interview. 

Filling requests has been challenging due to travel limitations and restrictions — many airlines have drastically reduced flights, Jackson said. Additionally, people are nervous about the risk of contagion while flying, he said. 

“The recruiting is being done regionally because travel is challenging right now, as you know,” he said. 

For example, the company has looked to fill needs in New York City with nurses and physician assistants located in neighboring states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, so they could drive in, he said. 

The company is also working with several hospitals around Atlanta in terms of staffing up for the surge, he said. 

At least one metro Atlanta health care system CEO, Kevin Brown of Piedmont Healthcare, has said his company’s biggest challenge is having its nurses recruited away to work in New York for top-tier salaries. 

Asked about an anecdote the reporter heard of a $10,000-a-week offer for a Florida physician assistant to go to New York, Jackson said he hadn’t heard of rates that high. “The rates we’ve seen are half that,” he said. 

By the end of April, Jackson Healthcare expected to have 1,000 to 2,000 placements in COVID-19 hot spots, he said. 

About 10,000 doctors and clinicians were working for Jackson Healthcare in 2019.

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