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Health-care staffing company adds to services offered

By Norman Poltenson

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UTICA — The Fortus Group, Inc., which has specialized in health-care staffing since the 1990s, has some new offerings on tap for 2012 that it hopes local health-care organizations and providers will find attractive.

Michael Maurizio, president and CEO, founded the company in Rome in 1993, providing permanent-placement staffing services, and over the years, the company began to focus and specialize in health-care placement. Eventually, that grew into the development of additional services such as its travel staff of 40 that can fill nursing and other health-care jobs across the country on a temporary basis.

Now, Maurizio is promoting some existing services and adding some new services to the Fortus lineup in an effort to bolster its business with the local health-care industry.

Fortus has been pairing health-care organizations and providers with business developers for a number of years, Maurizio says. Basically, Fortus works to pair the right developer with the right provider or entity looking to get a new business venture off the ground. It could be a hospital looking to add a service such as urgent care or a physician looking to open his or her own practice.

Fortus started doing this with physicians who wanted to open their own dialysis centers, Maurizio says. Generally, when a physician has more than a few patients on dialysis, it just makes financial sense for that physician to open a dialysis center, Maurizio says. Most patients, given the choice, will select a facility operated by their physician before going to a third party, he says, which means more revenue for the physician.

However, physicians are typically focused on providing care for their patients, which is where the pairing with a business developer comes into play, he says. The developer can handle the leg work of starting the center and handle all the behind-the-scenes elements of running the business, leaving the physician free to focus on the patients.

Fortus recently helped Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Meyers, Fla. open its own dialysis center by pairing the hospital with a developer, and as Fortus’ reputation has grown, the company is receiving more inquiries for this service, Maurizio says.

Now he’s working to spread the word in the Mohawk Valley that Fortus is here and can help provide that service locally.

Fortus is also promoting its travel, or contract, staff on a local basis. Aside from providing staff to fill in for someone out on maternity leave or some other temporary absence, Maurizio thinks Fortus can help fill other voids in the Mohawk Valley’s health-care needs. In particular, he’s eyeing the area’s jails and prisons to which he can deploy his per-diem staff members when the need arises.

Much like a company will contract out its information-technology services to an outside vendor rather than have someone on staff full time — and therefore saving on salary and benefits — Maurizio believes the area’s jails and prisons can adopt a similar strategy and use Fortus to call in health-care providers from doctors to nurses on an as-needed basis.

Fortus has also launched a new vendor-management service where a health-care facility can hire Fortus as its staffing service. That means Fortus would take on the legwork such as fielding calls from recruiters and reviewing job applications for potential candidates, Maurizio says.

Locally, Fortus has already worked with Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, Slocum Dickson, and Rome Memorial Hospital. Maurizio hopes to soon add several of the area’s nursing homes to its client list.

To promote both the new and existing services, Fortus is contacting facilities and providers directly and attending conferences, Maurizio says.

While he declined to disclose the company’s current total revenue, he says he expects the company’s permanent-placement staffing business to grow about 20 percent this year, while the travel/contract business should grow about 200 percent. It’s too soon to tell how much the business-development business will grow, but Maurizio expects total growth of more than $10 million in revenue for the year. 

Headquartered in the Harza Building at 181 Genesee St., Utica, The Fortus Group (www.fortusgroup.com) employs an office staff of 35, along with its travel-contract staff of 40. Those contract employees are staff that Fortus sends out to client locations on a variety of terms. Many work full time in 13-week placements, while others are utilized as per-diem employees on an as-needed basis. 

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