Ultimate Medical Academy Transitions More Than 1,500 Tampa Team Members to Remote Work
Tampa, Fla., March 19, 2020 – Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), an accredited, nonprofit healthcare educational institution based in the Tampa Bay area, has transitioned more than 1,500 of its office-based team members in Florida and New York to remote work in response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus and COVID-19. The organization has just over 2,000 team members nationwide, approximately 400 of whom are staff and faculty who were already working remotely.
“We are working hard to do our part to help flatten the curve and address this unprecedented situation,” said UMA President Thomas Rametta. “For us, that means doing everything we can to help protect our team members and our community while continuing to support our healthcare students and partners around the country.”
In late February, when health authorities heightened alerts for the United States around the spread of the coronavirus, UMA convened an Incident Management Team of leaders and specialists from across the organization to continuously monitor and respond to guidance from those and other authorities.
“Being based in Florida, we have emergency operations and continuity plans with hurricane season in mind. We’re finding that many of those strategies can be applied to this situation too,” said UMA Incident Commander, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff, David Donahue. “No one can do anything to change the course of a storm. However, we can take action to protect our employees and help shift the curve of this outbreak, by creating more social distance and practicing good health habits.”
Shared services team members in UMA’s New York and Tampa locations are mostly equipped with laptops. Those teams transitioned to remote work late last week. The institution’s online faculty were already working remotely. However, most of the organization’s team members provide a range of student services – admissions, learner services, student finance and career services – working from centers to support the institution’s more than 14,000 distance learners nationwide. Transitioning those teams and ensuring they remain prepared to support UMA’s student population required the swift but careful transfer of desktop workstations and equipment, as well as the development of communications and technical support plans to help team members get up and running in their home offices as quickly and smoothly as possible.
“There may be a few technical challenges as we adjust to this way of working for the time being, but we are prepared to work through those,” said Rametta. “The important thing is that our team members are equipped and able to work remotely for their safety and the health of our community. In turn, we will be able to continue supporting our students and the healthcare employers we partner with during this important time.”
Founded in 1994, UMA is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and has more than 55,000 alumni nationwide.
In addition to offering online healthcare diploma and associate degree programs, UMA also has a campus in Clearwater, Florida that serves approximately 150 students in clinical healthcare programs. Students at this campus are primarily focused on patient-facing roles that require the mastery of clinical skills. Currently, the Clearwater campus is on Spring Break, and the organization is extending the duration of that break for one week as the campus implements additional tools and resources for blended learning.
“Our online allied health programs have continued without interruption, and we are focused on ensuring continuity of instruction for our clinical programs at the Clearwater Campus,” said Geordie Hyland, UMA Executive Vice President. “Our mission is to equip and empower students to excel in healthcare careers, and we are fully committed to that. The current situation shines light on the important work that healthcare professionals and institutions provide.”
“On behalf of everyone at UMA, we are grateful for the work healthcare professionals are doing at this critical time,” said Rametta. “They are on the front lines treating patients and managing new processes and challenges around this issue. It’s clearly the right time to promote and practice the prevention guidelines they’ve issued.”