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NYC Health + Hospitals to Sign up 2,000 Volunteer Health Care Providers to Help in Covid-19 Pandemic Response

New online credentialing process, Docs4NYCNow!, creates one front door for volunteer doctors to get matched to a high-needs public hospital, secure free air fare and hotels

Trained, licensed volunteer doctors will provide relief to existing health care workforce and support public health system's plan to triple ICU bed capacity

Apr 16, 2020

New York, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest public health care system serving in the epicenter of New York’s COVID-19 pandemic response, today announced a new credentialing process that will streamline recruitment of nearly 2,000 volunteer licensed health care providers to support some of the hardest hit hospitals providing care to New Yorkers with COVID-19. The Docs4NYCNow! online portal is a one-stop credentialing system that allows volunteer doctors and advanced practice providers to sign up and get matched to their preferred NYC Health + Hospitals facility in as little as 24 hours, connect to free air fare and secure free hotel rooms for the duration of their volunteer assignment. Volunteers include critical care physicians, anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and will help the public hospitals with COVID-19 cases and demand, including NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst in Queens, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx, and NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island in Brooklyn. Docs4NYCNow! has successfully recruited, credentialed, and onboarded 1,000 medical providers since April 1. Emergency medicine, ICU and critical care physicians who wish to volunteer are invited to click here to access the Docs4NYCNow! online credentialing portal.

“On behalf of New Yorkers, we are incredibly grateful to the health care professionals from all over the country who have taken up a call to service and volunteer their time and skills to fight COVID-19. We already have several hundred volunteers on-site providing more than 12,000 volunteer hours of clinical service. We expect to have a total of two-thousand volunteers signed up by this week and more than half of those reporting for service right away,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Vice President of Ambulatory Care Dr. Ted Long. “That’s a big deal because we need to release our frontline providers who have been fighting this pandemic day and night to save lives. We also need more staff to support our plans to triple our normal ICU bed capacity to continue serving New Yorkers who are suffering from this virus.”

“Volunteering my clinical services at NYC Health + Hospitals during the COVID-19 response was a moral imperative for me,” said a trauma surgeon who traveled from Portland, Oregon and is giving his time at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. “Being able to be a part of the Elmhurst community has been an honor. Everywhere I go, I feel a great love that we are sharing as we try to limit the damage of this virus.”

The Docs4NYCNow! online portal was launched at the beginning of April to create a faster, more efficient way to onboard both volunteers and paid personnel under a disaster credentialing protocol that condenses the process to 24-hours from the usual 4-6 week process. The online portal captures personal information, educational history, specialty and professional licenses to match individuals where there is the greatest need. Through the online portal, volunteers can make their own travel arrangements for free air fare from any part of the country, and book free hotel rooms that have been made available by the City’s Office of Emergency Management.

“Docs4NYCNow! reflects a new type of collaboration across NYC Health + Hospitals that meets these unprecedented times. We are recruiting massive numbers of volunteers from across the city, the region, and the country, and rapidly mobilizing them to provide direct patient care,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President of the Office of Ambulatory Care Chris Keeley, who has managed the construction and operations of the Docs4NYCNow! portal. “These medical providers are leaving their own homes and families to help us in our time of need and we could not be more grateful for their help.”

Volunteer health care professionals are coming to NYC Health + Hospitals from a number of sources, including the Medical Reserve Corp, the State’s portal and direct recruitment efforts by NYC Health + Hospitals, which included reaching out to targeted specialty societies like the Society of Critical Care Medicine. The Docs4NYCNow! campaign has coordinated more than 20,000 emails and more than 20,000 phone calls to potential volunteers. Volunteers are expected to serve for two weeks and have an option to stay longer.

OnBoarding Volunteers

Once volunteers complete the Docs4NYCNow! credentialing process, they are assigned a point of contact at each facility. Volunteers must follow all city and state departments of health guidelines and CDC best practice protocols. They are screened for fever and COVID-19 symptoms, and given the necessary personal protective equipment for their role. Volunteers are teamed up with seasoned NYC Health + Hospitals providers to ensure a seamless process for them and for patients. Volunteers receive a two-hour training and orientation session, and more basic information to ensure they adjust smoothly, including where to get food, and how to get around the facility and neighborhood.

Other Personnel Surge Planning

The 2,000 volunteer providers are only part of the surge staffing plan in place for NYC Health + Hospitals. The public health system has also contracted with more than 2,000 additional nurses, more than 500 other providers including hard-to-recruit ICU and Critical Care physicians. It has also shifted more than 1,000 clinicians and other staff from its outpatient health centers to work on the front lines in hospital Emergency Rooms and Clinical Care hot spots.

For more information on NYC Health + Hospitals’ COVID-19 responses, please visit the newsroom.