Georgia-based company sending dozens of health care workers to Albany

Updated: Apr. 17, 2020 at 1:30 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A Georgia-based company and the state of Georgia announced plans to bring more than 250 health care workers to Albany.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s office said this week that the doctors and nurses will help staff at the Phoebe Putney Health System and a couple of nursing homes that treat COVID-19 patients.

Georgia-based company Jackson Healthcare's president, Shane Jackson, said while the company is sending health care staff across the country during this pandemic, one of their main focuses is in Albany.

"As a Georgian, we all knew that Albany was a place that was really having to fight this battle the hardest," Jackson said of the Alpharetta-based company.

Jackson said Albany is where the company is sending a bulk of the 570 health care workers it's bringing in across the state.

"There are certainly some doctors and nurses who have been nervous to go into some of these places," he explained.

However, when the state and Jackson Healthcare partnered up to help Georgia health care facilities, doctors and nurses volunteered anyways.

"Frankly, so many of them have said, 'you need to send me wherever I can be best used,'" Jackson said.

Here is what Governor Brian Kemp’s office said about staffing headed to Albany and Southwest Georgia from Jackson Healthcare:

“Much of the state’s early focus has been on the staffing needs of Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, one of the state’s hardest-hit healthcare systems where sixty-five additional healthcare professionals have been added to the hospital’s main campus with eighty more expected to join early next week. At Phoebe’s North campus, an additional 230 healthcare professionals are expected to be brought on board in the coming days and weeks. The state is also assisting Phoebe with standing up one of four temporary medical units across Georgia with nearly fifty staff expected to be added to the Phoebe unit.”

Jackson said that bringing this much staffing to one city has been a big undertaking.

"When we got the call from the state saying, 'hey we need your help in helping the state, helping the people in Albany,' we reprioritized a lot of things to make sure we could take care of our fellow Georgians," he explained.

Jackson Healthcare will also add a number of nurses to supplement nursing staff at PruittHealth Palmyra, a nursing home in Albany and Pelham Parkway Nursing Home in Pelham.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has said both locations have seen outbreaks with at least two dozen residents and staff testing positive.

Jackson said he wants people in Albany and Southwest Georgia to realize that health care workers across the nation want to help them.

"They're coming from all over the country to do it because people know what's happening in Albany," he said.

Phoebe leaders said this week that the first phase of the Phoebe North project is expected to open next Wednesday with staff from Phoebe and Jackson Healthcare.

It will have 12 ICU and 15 general beds for COVID-19 patients only.

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