Our client oversees multiple hospitals throughout several island nations that are considered world-renowned vacation destinations. This unique setting requires careful management of healthcare resources during events such as the COVID-19 pandemic to be able to serve both the area’s residents as well as the tourist population.
The client faced difficulties during the pandemic due to the unique situation of overseeing facilities across several island nations. The pandemic had put a strain on healthcare resources throughout the islands and the subsequent restrictions had made travel difficult for providers to reach patients in need of care.
In order to cope with fluctuations in COVID-19 patients, the client needed assistance finding providers who met certain criteria in terms of specialty, availability, and experience and could take locum tenens assignments for long stretches of time. The length of the assignments was in large part to account for vigorous quarantine requirements for the protection of the islands’ residents. Even one person bringing COVID-19 to an island could be catastrophic, so it was imperative to have a locum tenens staffing team and providers who truly understood the gravity of the situation and were willing to comply with the strict protocols.
With these concerns in mind, the client turned to MPLT Healthcare for help finding the right people for these highly specific needs. Because our team had a previous relationship with this client, they trusted MPLT Healthcare to understand the urgency and provide rapid staffing assistance.
MPLT Healthcare mobilized the Rapid Response Team to address the client’s needs and immediately begin sourcing potential candidates for the initial urgent coverage request. The providers would need to be flexible to accommodate the changing needs of the client due to surges during the pandemic and new strains of COVID. Our team was confident in our ability to meet these requirements and worked on finding the best providers for the assignment.
The physicians could come from anywhere in the U.S. so long as they held a current medical license without restrictions and were able to stay on assignment for approximately 45-60 days to account for testing and quarantine protocols. Providers would need a clean background and experience in critical care, pulmonology, or anesthesiology. The physicians would also need to be able to intubate patients and work in a setting where conditions could change rapidly as they met with influxes of COVID patients.
The providers sourced by the MPLT Healthcare team were flown to Miami, where they were then assembled into teams and flown to the islands after a quarantine period. The physician teams were then taken via charter flights to the islands since all commercial flights were suspended due to pandemic restrictions. These restrictions also meant that providers could not go home on a whim, so our team had to find people who were truly willing to make a long-term commitment to the assignment.
A great deal of teamwork was required to ensure that the providers our team sourced would understand the parameters of the assignment prior to committing their time in the islands. While the islands were in a tropical area, providers would not be on vacation during their downtime. The providers would be working an extensive schedule with little time for outside activities due to the quarantine restrictions. Language barriers were a challenge, along with the fluid situation of the pandemic itself, leading to the possibility of the providers being moved to a different facility or even a different island as needs changed.
This particular situation presented a unique set of circumstances that required our team to work indirectly with a foreign government through a third party. This made communication difficult at times and meant that our team had very little control over many aspects of the assignments. Our team worked diligently to ensure that the government was satisfied with our providers and our service during a time when the situation could change rapidly. This required a high level of sensitivity and diplomacy in order to comply with all standards and requests.
The MPLT Way
Despite the potential challenges of exacting requirements during an already difficult situation presented by the pandemic, our team was able to find excellent, highly qualified providers who understood the gravity of the situation and were ready to help in any way they could. We were able to service the client throughout the pandemic, covering over 400 shifts during our time assisting with this client’s coverage needs. This could only be achieved through our team’s relentless commitment to quality, which at times required team members to work around the clock to ensure that the availability of coverage from our providers was expedited.
Our team’s ability to pivot as needed was key to our success in this scenario. Excellent communication was imperative throughout all stages of the process, including working with the client’s agents, the local government, and relaying information between our specialty teams and our credentialing department. Once we had potential candidates, we worked quickly to clear them internally through our credentialing team, allowing us to deploy eligible providers very quickly.
Not only did our Rapid Response Team rise to the occasion, but there were several instances where our providers went above and beyond to assist the client, speaking to the caliber of the professionals we were able to find. One of our physicians was actually able to step into a leadership role to assist with scheduling and to facilitate communication between the client, hospital and locum providers. Other MPLT physicians brought mass quantities of personal protective equipment for the team and made arrangements for additional PPE to be shipped to the islands where resources were scarce.
At MPLT Healthcare, we always strive to provide world-class service to our clients despite the odds. During some of the most severe parts of the pandemic, we were able to find ready and able physicians and get them on assignment to help our clients, making an impact where it was needed the most. That is the MPLT way.