For Omaha-based Triage Medical Staffing, the current preparation of its new headquarters building is important, but equal attention is being given to work-flow processes and the firm’s enhanced technology base.
“We’re getting a pretty good handle on ins, outs, ups and downs of medical traveling, an industry that has exploded in the last few years,” said founder and CEO John Maaske of Triage Medical Staffing. Maaske co-owns the Omaha-based company with 380 employees with founder and COO Tyler Pieper.
And there’s no letup planned for anytime soon.
Triage, which has enjoyed three-fold growth in the past couple of years, places travel nursing, laboratory, radiology, cardiopulmonary and rehab therapy talent in facilities across the country. Triage, which was founded in Omaha in 2006 with four employees, expects to hire its 500th employee early in 2023. In addition to hiring new travel nurse recruiters and allied health recruiters, Maaske said he expects to add support staff in compliance, innovation, people and culture, marketing and finance over the next couple years, both in its Omaha headquarters and satellite office in Cincinnati.
Triage has been recognized by Inc. Magazine six times as one of the fastest growing companies in America and a top travel company for the fifth consecutive year by BluePipes, a health care management recording program.
“We’ve deliberately built Triage on a foundation of not just being a traveling nursing company but rather as a traveling allied health company with most recently the addition of radiology, medical laboratory and rehabilitation therapy,” Maaske said.
He said cardiopulmonary and respiratory therapists have been strongly demanded by health care institutions due to pandemic issues in the treatment of asthmatics and those with other breathing conditions.
Still, nursing — which is responsible for about 70% of placements — leads other categories in growth opportunities. Contracts, on average, are signed for stints of about 13 weeks. Most medical institutions want nurses with at least two years of experience.
“We serve about 1,000 medical facilities annually,” Maaske said. “Based on demand and on-call hours, the average traveling nurse will work in excess of 36 to 40 hours a week.”
Triage’s retention rate is 65 to 66%. The firm serves all 50 states, with its greatest concentration of workers on the East and West Coasts.
For the last five years Triage has been headquartered in about 30,000 square feet at 12020 Pacific St., but earlier this year the firm announced it plans to triple its space with a move to the former Medical Solutions building at 13609 California St., which takes up about 100,000 square feet. Maaske and Pieper, with the help of a group of investors, purchased the multi-story structure which they hope to move into next year.
Maaske said the investment is sorely needed and qualifies as a priority because it impacts the “people, process and technology” criteria he has imposed for attracting driven and high-character people.
Triage branding sets the corporate landscape for “real and ready.” The former stresses a candid, straight-forward workplace; the latter cultivates the message that employees need to be ready for what’s next.
The current Triage office houses a games area that receives daily use, nap pods, retro high school bleachers and a well-stocked beer fridge.
Maaske views the climate as demonstrating that the firm doesn’t always take itself too seriously. The idea is to balance the firm’s explosive growth while honoring its laid-back, employee-first roots.
The newest technology — an investment of millions of dollars over the past five years — has been important to Triage’s growth, a statement Maaske said has been a “huge differential in the marketplace.”
For example, one of the biggest hurdles to Triage’s growth had been credentialing — the tracking, storage and management of information on its travelers. In 2021, Triage purchased a New York-based firm Kamana, which had developed a compliance and credentialing platform. The technology enables health care professionals to create a universal digital profile that can be shared with agencies and facilities throughout the country.
“We call it a digital wallet,” Maaske said. “Everything is housed in a secure location, which means that travelers can ditch the paper file they used to carry.”
Maaske, an Omaha native who graduated in 1996 from DePaul University with a concentration of coursework in business and English, traces his entrepreneurial interests back to Omaha Central High School and his DECA and marketing instructor Harry Gaylor.
“There was so much energy in that classroom that I found it to be inspiring,” Maaske said. “After studying how to market cookies, I couldn’t wait to start up a business.”
Pieper, a Nebraska native and graduate of University of Nebraska-Kearney, worked with Maaske at Aureus Medical for five years before the duo set out and founded Triage.
Maaske was recently recognized with a Patriot Award from the Department of Defense. He was nominated by an employee, staff sergeant Brian Tyler who is a member of the Army National Guard.