‘Health care hiring frenzy’: Working to improve staff shortages, meet demand ahead of flu season

With flu season approaching, the need to solve the existing staffing shortages is greater than ever.
With flu season approaching, the need to solve the existing staffing shortages is greater than ever.
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 6:47 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 7:54 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Health care workers are working around the clock to keep you safe during this pandemic.

With flu season approaching, the need to solve the existing staffing shortages is greater than ever.

Mecklenburg County’s Emergency Medical Services, known as MEDIC, has 28 vacant positions.

CVS Health is also set to hire almost 700 positions across North Carolina.

On Friday, CVS Health will hold a one-day virtual hiring event to fill 25,000 positions across the country, nearly 700 of which are in North Carolina.

Anyone interested will be able to text CVS to 25000 and a virtual job assistant will text back to get the interview process started.

The company is hiring pharmacists, technicians, nurses and retail associates.

To stay competitive, the company recently raised the corporate-wide minimum wage to $15 per hour, which becomes effective next summer. They are also offering incremental increases immediately.

Beyond the people testing and giving shots, are the men and women helping in peoples’ greatest emergencies.

MEDIC in Mecklenburg County is handling more transports now than ever before.

They had 10,629 transports in August, which is 1,103 more than July.

MEDIC also reported a 300% increase in positive COVID-19 transports in August.

“They have some staffing issues and need people to drive an ambulance, but obviously not just anyone can drive an ambulance, so they’ve been talking to the state,” Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris told county commissioners Tuesday.

According to a document from the state, it is requesting 50 ambulances and credentialed personnel from FEMA.

Those resources would be spread out across the state, including in Mecklenburg County.

“We’re right in the middle of this pandemic when resources are strained, so when FEMA asked if we needed help we said yes,” NCDHHS health secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said.

The 28 positions within MEDIC are EMT and paramedic positions.

The starting pay for EMTs is between $16.14 to $17.92 per hour.

The starting pay for Parademics is between $20.50 to $24.60 per hour.

According to a spokesperson for MEDIC, response times remain on target, but they are utilizing mandatory overtime to get there and developing other strategies that will be announced soon.

In a statement, the spokesperson told WBTV:

“Medic continues to evaluate mitigation options to ensure the Agency is able to meet the 911 emergency response needs in Mecklenburg County. Call volume is at pre-pandemic levels and Agency staffing is at a deficit. The influx of COVID activity in our community is straining the entire healthcare system, Medic included. It is important for Agency leadership to have contingency plans in place beyond the current use of mandatory overtime to handle any additional challenges brought on by the pandemic. In addition to the options outlined by the NC Office of EMS, Medic has also made resource requests through the local and state offices of Emergency Management. We have not yet received confirmation that we will receive these resources. We will continue to evaluate viable options to help weather this storm, ensuring this Agency’s ability to respond to medical emergencies in a timely manner.”

Meanwhile, StarMed Healthcare leaders are working hard to keep long testing lines in Charlotte moving.

“We’ve been averaging about 40 hires per day for the past two weeks,” Chris Dobbins, with StarMed Healthcare, told WBTV.

StarMed is working to assist several counties across the state needing resources for testing and vaccinations.

Click here to apply for a career within MEDIC.

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