Humana, one of the most prolific corporate job creators in the Tampa Bay area throughout the Great Recession, isn't slowing down.
The Louisville-based insurer said Monday that it is adding 300 more jobs this fall at its Humana Cares unit in St. Petersburg.
The division, which provides health aid and consults over the phone to chronically ill Humana members, was begun in February 2009 with 200 employees. The latest round of jobs will bring the unit to 1,300 employees by the end of the year.
About 250 of the new hires will work out of Humana Cares' national call center in St. Petersburg's Carillon Parkway complex. The jobs range from nurses to social workers to health educators who talk with members about health concerns over the phone and in person.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson visited the call center Monday afternoon for the announcement and a tour of the facility. Part of the tour: a demonstration of how nurses at the complex use two-way video to remotely monitor the weight, blood pressure and other vital signs of some 2,000 of its members who have congestive heart failure.
Humana touts the program as a way to better serve its members directly, as well as cut into unnecessary and expensive hospital visits.
As it has grown, the unit has expanded its mission as well as its workforce. Members in Humana's special needs program, particularly "dual eligible" members who receive both Medicare and Medicaid, are now participating as well. Often, the company said, those members have higher-than-average medical needs.
"We're confident they too will enjoy the same positive results as Humana members currently served by Humana Cares," said Jean Bisio, president of the St. Petersburg operation. So far, Bisio said, chronically ill members in the program are reporting 48 percent fewer hospital readmissions and their medical claims costs are 32 percent lower than other Humana members.
The expansion comes just a month after Humana said it was adding 200 workers at another Tampa Bay operation, its Medicare service operations center in Tampa. All together, the health care company has more than 5,000 employees statewide, more than half of them in the bay area.
With the bay area still struggling with an 11.1 percent unemployment rate, the health care industry has been one of the few sectors that's been steadily growing.
On-site jobs fairs will be held every Wednesday through the end of September from noon to 5 p.m. at the center at 800 Carillon Parkway, Suite 240. For more information about open positions or to apply online, go to www.humana.com/resources/about/careers.
Separately, Nelson applauded Humana for its broader commitment to hire 1,000 veterans nationwide. So many members of the military, he said, "have suffered so much" and then struggle to find work when they come home. Bisio said Humana Cares will have a hiring event in September targeting veterans.