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Intermountain welcomes 10 ICU nurses from New York as part of a collaborative COVID-19 partnership between two of the nation’s premier health systems

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Intermountain Healthcare today welcomed a team of 10 ICU nurses from New York’s Northwell Health system who are in Utah as part of a collaborative partnership between two of the nation’s premier health systems to assist each other and share best practices and protocols for the treatment and support of COVID-19 and non-COVID patients.

One of those nurses from New York is Jeff Rosa, a 17-year nursing veteran who was a first responder during 9-11 and is now a frontline nurse for Northwell Health in New York City. Rosa is a critical care nurse who works in the ICUs and helps care for the most ill COVID-19 patients. Rosa is the recipient of Northwell Health President’s award for Nurse of the Year.

He’s happy to be in Salt Lake City for two weeks to work with caregivers at Intermountain Healthcare, who came to his aid last April when New Yorkers were facing a deluge in the pandemic in that state.

Last April, Intermountain deployed two COVID-19 Response Teams totaling 100 caregivers to assist New York hospitals during that state’s major surge of COVID-19 cases. Those hospitals planned to return the favor when their surge subsided, which it now has.

Although Utah is not currently experiencing a surge of COVID-19 patients, these highly-trained ICU nurses from Northwell Health will support ICU teams at Intermountain Healthcare as they cross train and share best practices with one another while treating COVID-19 and non-COVID patients. 

A total of about 30 Northwell nurses will come to Intermountain in three teams of 10 for two-week assignments and will work in the ICUs at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.

“We are excited to welcome our New York colleagues from Northwell Health,” said Heather Brace, Intermountain’s senior vice president and chief people officer. “This is a great example of two premier health systems and amazing and dedicated caregivers helping each other in times of need to support and care for our patients and communities.”

“During the height of the pandemic here in New York, we were grateful for the extraordinary support provided by the Intermountain Healthcare system,” said Michael Dowling, president, and CEO of Northwell Health. “We are now delighted to be able to reciprocate by sending staff to assist them in their current battle against this disease.”

Northwell Health has treated more than 70,000 COVID-19 patients during the height of the pandemic in New York, more than any other health system in the nation.

During a news conference today, the visiting Northwell nurses shared their thoughts about why they wanted to come to Utah to assist Intermountain caregivers.

“When Intermountain came (to NY) we were at one to four. One nurse for every four patients. When the Intermountain group came, they gave us a relief. A big part of nursing is helping one another,” said Northwell Health nurse Shereyah Barbera, RN. “I was very grateful for my own team and the Intermountain team became a part of my team. Now, being in Utah after getting our numbers in control, now I can come back and help this team again.”

“Why am I doing this? Why am I coming back? Honestly, it’s a simple answer. I feel like I need to give back,” said Adara Abrahamsen, RN, from Northwell Health. “Nurses band together. If any of you are struggling, we are here to help you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for having me.”

Last week, during an announcement of the deployment of New York caregivers to Utah, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo thanked Intermountain Healthcare and the people of Utah for their support during the height of the outbreak in New York.

“On behalf of New Yorkers, we won’t forget, and we will do for them what they did for us because that’s the American way,” said Gov. Cuomo. “We’re taking new steps in New York State’s continuing effort to repay the gratitude that we’ve been shown by people all across the country. Utah and Intermountain were very generous to New York when we needed help.”

Although Intermountain isn’t currently experiencing a significant surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations, clinical leaders are continually monitoring, preparing, learning, and adjusting treatment protocols to provide the best care for patients and the communities.

“This is a true representation of teamwork, working together across the country to support each other,” said Paul Krakovitz, MD, Intermountain Healthcare’s chief medical officer for specialty-based care, who helped organize the Intermountain COVID-10 Response Team that traveled to New York.  “This sharing of best practices between health systems will greatly benefit patients in Utah and New York.”

“The experience and knowledge that our 100 caregivers gained in New York during the peak of the pandemic there were invaluable for our preparation here in Utah,” Dr. Krakovitz added. “We hope the caregivers from Northwell will also benefit from their time with us here in Utah.”

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