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The Story Behind How A Local Hospitality Group Transformed to Telehealth, Saving Jobs & Lives

QED Hospitality is one of the rising hospitality groups in the city of New Orleans. The group was founded by Emery Whalen and Brian Landry, who have established their name in Nashville with Marsh House, L.A. Jackson, Killebrew Coffee, and in New Orleans with Jack Rose, Hot Tin, Bayou Bar, and The Parlor at the Pontchartrain. 

This past month as the COVID-19 pandemic grew in scale and complexity, Emery Whalen and Brian Landry quickly realized they would have to close their eight food and beverage outlets. Their solution was something of a genius move, pivoting their staff to healthcare and specifically Telehealth. 

The duo recognized that to-go dining wasn’t a plausible model that would keep their valued employees working/paid. In a fortuitous twist of fate, Emery learned from her brother, Ralph Whalen, the company for which he works would be hiring 250 people in the next week to help convert upcoming in-person doctor visits to TeleHealth appointments.

Ralph works for Divurgent, a healthcare consulting company aimed at improving healthcare through innovation and technology. He was charged with creating a virtual call center for hospitals that would assist in enrolling their patients into their Telehealth systems to help lessen the burden on the hospitals.

Ralph and Emery came up with the idea that QED’s hospitality workers would be great candidates to help make these patient calls due to their employees years of experience in customer service. After a few days of phone calls, their incredible foresight came to fruition. 

On March 18, Emery and Brain started a new company, QED Resources, and were able to hire 107 of their hospitality workers to assist in telehealth customer service. QED Resources is serving hundreds of patients per day, all from the comforts of their home. And the best part of this story? QED’s employees are earning wages at least equal to their previous positions.

 It’s Ralph’s goal to replicate a similar model for Divurgent’s clients across the country, contracting and training talent from small businesses within each client’s community. 


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