Over the past few weeks, United Airlines has been providing free flights to medical professionals hired by the Guam Memorial Hospital through a recruitment agency to support the island with Covid-19 relief efforts.
"United has been committed to connecting much-needed medical professionals to the frontlines throughout the U.S. and has recently extended the program to Guam to support GMH," according to United.
GMH has contracted NuWest Group for bring nurses to Guam for a price tag of $145 per hour. Lillian Posadas, GMH administrator, said the additional staffing resources has provided a great relief for the understaffed government hospital.
"By having the additional nursing staff, nurses are assigned to care for a more reasonable number of patients, especially with the high acuity, intensity, and severity of the Covid patients’ conditions," Posadas said. "United Airlines’ complimentary air transport support is beyond our expectations."
According to a United Airlines' article for company distribution, GMH has welcomed 81 medical professionals through the NuWest Group.
"This partnership was meant to give our island’s medical professionals much-needed rest and alleviate some of the stress that they’ve had to bear since the pandemic started," said Sam Shinohara, United Airlines managing director of Airport Operations in Asia/Pacific. "The reality is that we all need to do our part and do it now to help our island climb out of this situation so people can get back to work and kids can go back to school. We need to fix Guam first and that starts by supporting our hospital."
United said it continues to operate daily flights to Honolulu and Tokyo/Narita from Guam to keep the lifeline paths open and keep people moving.
The nurses and healthcare professionals will stay in Guam for up to four months and the program will fly volunteers through January, the airline said. "We are one of the largest employers of the island and are seen as the 'hometown airline of Guam.' When local officials put out the call for support, our United team worked quickly to find a way to contribute and provide help," United said.
Mona Veiseh, president of Healthcare NuWest Group, said her company found itself in the center of the Covid-19 fight when Seattle’s Patient Zero was first diagnosed, essentially down the street from the company's Bellevue office.
"Since then, we’ve helped community after community address the healthcare challenges that come with Covid-19 spikes," Veiseh said. "By the time the territory of Guam reached out for help, we’d nailed down our ability to bring not only the talent, but also the expertise, that hospitals need to set up effective systems. Our nurses had previous experience with the illness, and our NuWest team brought the infrastructure for success."