With COVID Surge, Healthcare Workers Can Volunteer to Help

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Original story posted on: August 23, 2021

The alert system is designed for state or national disasters.

Back in March, when many Americans rushed to get vaccinated, I received an email through my local church stating that the State of California had established a program for healthcare workers to be able to volunteer in a situation of an emergency.

I was interested, and went to the website and completed an application. The application contained several questions about work experience and knowledge within healthcare. Once the application was submitted into the system, it was reviewed and approved or denied. The approval puts the individual into the system to receive alerts and requests for assistance.

One recent Sunday, the California.gov system sent out a request for healthcare volunteers to help at the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley due to a COVID surge. The hospital is located in Northern California, near mountain foothills of around 2,400 feet of elevation, about an hour northeast of Sacramento. It has 105 beds and 18 ER beds. The volunteer request was for RNs, EMTs, and support staff.

The alert system is designed for when there is a state or national disaster (e.g., an earthquake, severe weather event, or public health emergency). And we all know that COVID-19 certainly qualifies as a public health emergency (PHE). The system can be accessed by authorized medical officials at the State Emergency Operations Center. On the website, you will see the following message: “(if you are) a healthcare provider with an active license, a public health professional, or a member of a medical disaster response team in California (and) would like to volunteer for disaster service, you’ve come to the right place!”

If you are a California healthcare worker interested in volunteering, you can do so in two ways. Go to the site for disaster healthcare volunteers for the state of California at    https://www.healthcarevolunteers.ca.gov/, or contact the hospital HR department of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital directly. You may want to check within your own state as well for a healthcare volunteer program for public health emergencies.

Thank you in advance for your attention and assistance!

Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCDS, AHIMA-Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

Gloryanne Bryant is an independent health information management (HIM) coding compliance consultant with more than 40 years of experience in the field. She appears on Talk Ten Tuesdays on a regular basis and is a member of the ICD10monitor editorial board.