It’s not often that a company vows to hire 500 employees in one fell swoop. That’s happening right now in Kansas City.
TriWest Healthcare Alliance is opening a new facility near Kansas City International Airport and pledges to have 500 workers on board by Sept. 8.
“We are moving at Mach 3 speed,” said CEO David J. McIntyre Jr., who was in Kansas City on Friday morning to announce the new contact and administrative services center.
The company’s growth is accelerating partly because of new rules that allow military veterans more access to health care providers outside the Veterans Affairs system.
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McIntyre said 160 Kansas City jobs were filled even before the official announcement, but that leaves 340 to go.
TriWest hires for a range of jobs, including medical professionals, project management, administration, patient services, medical operations, information technology, finance, business development, data services and customer service. Hiring information is in the employment section of the company’s website.
The Phoenix-based administrator of health care services for veterans and military families chose Kansas City for its first major Midwest expansion, fueled by changes in rules that govern when and where veterans and military families can obtain health care.
TriWest helps connect them with private-sector doctors and hospitals outside of the military health care system as well as helps schedule appointments within the system.
TriWest, which has offices in Arizona, Washington and Hawaii, is making a multimillion-dollar investment in a 64,000-square-foot facility at 7930 N.W. 110th St. The site is in a business park east of KCI, just off Northwest Ambassador Drive.
The expansion was announced Friday by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, McIntyre and other area economic development officials.
“Kansas City immediately rose to the top of our list,” McIntyre said. “We found an amazing space and signed a lease in a week.”
The Missouri Department of Economic Development offered TriWest an incentive package worth $2,427,669 through the Missouri Works program if it hires 500 employees and invests $4.3 million in the expansion.
No city incentives were involved in attracting the company.
TriWest serves the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Patient-Centered Community Care program, which is designed to give veterans access to civilian health care when VA care isn’t available because of distance or timing.
The company also serves veterans through the Veterans Choice Program. The program allows enrolled veterans to get health care in their communities rather than wait 30 days for a VA appointment or travel more than 40 miles to a VA medical facility. A ruling published in April said the 40 miles must be driving distance rather than a straight-line measure.
That helped ramp up the private-sector connecting business for TriWest. The company said in May that it would begin a workforce expansion because of increased demand under the choice program and new distance rule.
The TriWest network of health care professionals exists in all or parts of 28 states, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. Its current workforce stands at 1,600, but McIntyre said it should reach 2,500 to 3,000 by the end of the year, with the 500 jobs in Kansas City counted among the gains.
The company already has a 10-person administrative center in Fort Leonard Wood that helps with appointment services at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.
The company, founded in 1996, also provides behavioral health services to the U.S. Marine Corps and handles patient appointments at various military clinics.
McIntyre said one of the reasons the company chose to expand in Kansas City was because the area already shows strong support for “increasing economic opportunities for veterans.” He said the company is particularly committed to hiring veterans.
The governor on Friday morning presented McIntyre with a Flag of Freedom, recognizing that hiring.
In addition to the state economic development and governor’s offices, company and civic officials said location assistance came from the Kansas City Area Development Council, VA, Missouri Partnership, Platte County Economic Development Council, Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City, KCP&L, Kessinger/Hunter & Co., Aerotek, Colliers International, Missouri Gas Energy, Missouri Career Center and the Full Employment Council.