Newswise — Hundreds of Intermountain Healthcare clinicians in Utah recently expressed interest in providing assistance to states facing major surges in COVID-19 cases that are also currently experiencing severe staffing shortages. 

In response, Intermountain has created two COVID-19 Response Teams that will deploy to the New York City area to assist hospitals this week.

Intermountain has partnered with New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Northwell Health, both located in the New York City area. These healthcare systems will aim to return the favor by supporting Intermountain as much as they can when Utah faces its own surge with COVID-19 patients.

Each Intermountain team will have 50 caregivers who will serve for a maximum of 14 days. These voluntary teams are made up of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other caregivers.

“I’m incredibly proud that so many of our caregivers want to help others in need, and we have the capacity right now to share our staff with others in the middle of their COVID-19 surge,” said Paul Krakovitz, MD, Intermountain Healthcare’s chief medical officer for specialty based care. “Not only will they provide care for patients in New York, they will bring back knowledge and experience to share with their Utah colleagues that will help us serve Utah patients.”

The first team is scheduled to fly out of Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 14, and will assist caregivers at Northwell Health.

Dr. Dixie Harris, an Intermountain Healthcare critical care and pulmonary physician, who is on the first team, says: “This is why we all got into medicine. People need our help. We’re going to help them.”

Experts anticipate that Utah’s COVID-19 surge will happen in May or June, so caregivers will be back to the Intermountain service area when help is needed most.

“This temporary sharing of staff experienced in treating COVID-19 will greatly benefit patients in Utah and elsewhere,” said Dr. Krakovitz.