On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the formation of the California Health Corps, an initiative designed to gather all healthcare workers in the state to help treat an expected upturn of COVID-19 coronavirus patients.
The new Health Corps
The Corps aims to recruit healthcare workers currently not at work in the current healthcare system, such as retired doctors and nurses, currently unemployed healthcare workers, nursing students, medical students, medical disaster response team volunteers, certified nursing assistants, and others currently not at work in hospitals.
“We’re in the middle of this,” said Governor Newsom on Monday. “We believe very strongly that the stay at home order has helped advance our efforts are reducing the stress on the system.
California’s health care workers are the heroes of this moment, serving on the front lines in the fight against this disease. To treat the rising number of patients with COVID-19, our state needs more workers in the health care field to join the fight. If you have a background in health care, we need your help.”
In a tweet, the Governor further encouraged Californians to join if possible, saying “Medical professionals are the heroes of this moment. We need ALL healthcare workers out in the field. This is an all hands on deck situation as we prepare for what’s ahead. Doctors, nursing students, EMTs & more–CA needs YOU.”
Medical professionals are the heroes of this moment.
We need ALL healthcare workers out in the field. This is an all hands on deck situation as we prepare for what’s ahead.
Doctors, nursing students, EMTs & more–CA needs YOU.
Sign up. Spread the word: https://t.co/EfQYLH7nZC
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 30, 2020
Health Corps workers would receive a salary and malpractice benefits, as well the best attempt to place them near their preferred location in California.
“Right now the state is preparing for the worst case scenario,” explained healthcare expert Dr. Ben Mu. “The new ‘Health Corps’ is just making sure that everyone is available. We’ve seen field hospitals be set up in Central Park in New York because New York was so unprepared. They’re just getting ready in case hospital bed space is gone.”
“I can’t say if that will potentially happen or not. California cases are growing, but citizens are also taking more precautions than New York. We’re also generally more spread out.”
“And I wouldn’t say this is a waste of money. We have another line of defense now for at least a month or two, and they’ll help relieve some of the other healthcare workers who are working tirelessly right now. Just like during a war you call up the National Guard if you need more troops, California is creating a temporary medical version of it now.”
A need for retired healthcare workers and medical students
The Governor’s executive order for the Health Corps also waives certain requirements and certifications for those joining.
“People joining will be retired or still in medical school,” explained Dr. Mu. “Or they may not have been able to afford re-upping a certain license. From how I read this, they’re going to make sure of everyone 100% before hiring them, so you still have to know your stuff. But this allows for a greater pool of recruits to tap into. And who knows, we may need as many as we can get.”
California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su also clarified the need for such retired and student workers in a statement. “Outreach to unemployed health care workers and under-employed foreign medical graduates will help build the workforce needed to fight the pandemic and also create new opportunities and jobs for Californians struggling with unemployment,” said Su.
In addition to the new Health Corps, Governor Newsom also announced his other new executive order to expand healthcare services to include at least 50,000 new beds for coronavirus patients.
As of Monday, there are currently 6,300 people in California with the COVID-19 coronavirus, with 132 deaths being recorded.
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