ThedaCare, Neenah, 2022 Community Benefits

ThedaCare Team Members Help During COVID-19 Surge

Throughout the region, COVID-19 cases continue to increase and ThedaCare, as well as other health systems in the state, are seeing a surge in patients, including COVID inpatient and intensive care. The increased number of patients, which includes those infected with COVID-19 and those being treated for other health conditions, is leading to staffing challenges.  

“During this time of workplace shortages nationally, ThedaCare, like nearly all health care systems, is not immune to these challenges,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Maggie A. Lund. “Through the ability to quickly adjust plans to provide care and support the needs of patients and communities, ThedaCare has implemented several solutions to help with staffing levels, including some innovative measures that are having a positive impact within our system. We continue to be dedicated to providing the best care possible for our patients.” 

ThedaCare has, and continues to be committed to team members, with no layoffs or furloughs. Plans to address staffing levels include:  

  • Redeploying team members to areas of need;
  • Accepting applications for all roles;
  • Offering sign-on and referral bonuses for specific roles; and,  
  • Adding additional temporary staff through other resources and partners, including the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry. 
In addition to those solutions, ThedaCare has also requested all exempt, or salaried team members, both in clinical and non-clinical roles, to provide eight hours every one to two weeks in a needed role to alleviate some of the work or stress on frontline staff. 

Depending upon the license and skill set of team members, each will have the ability to select from four roles, where they meet qualifications. Examples include assisting with housekeeping duties, stocking/running supplies, helping patients order meals and collecting/distributing meal trays. If a person has an active license, for example, a Registered Nurse (RN) or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), this team member could provide time at a vaccination clinic or perform COVID-19 testing.  

“It is important to note that we do not have exempt team members in roles that provide direct patient care unless they are qualified to do so,” said Lund. 

When a team member signs up for a shift, a leader contacts them ahead of the shift to discuss skill set and ensure it is an appropriate assignment match. When the person arrives to the designated area, they are met by a qualified team member or leader who provides an overview of assignment. According to Lund, the initial call-to-action will be for a period of six weeks and will be evaluated based on COVID-19 activity in the region, census in facilities and staffing needs.