ST.PAUL, MN (CBS) – Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday that he is taking action to support long-term care facilities in Minnesota.
Governor Walz is activating the Minnesota National Guard to train trained nursing “response teams” to provide support to long-term facilities facing staff shortages. It’s part of an effort to continue to address hospital capacity issues amid increasing pressure on the state’s healthcare system from COVID-19.
Walz is also proposing to provide $ 50 million in federal funding for facilities to help with the hiring and retention of staff.
Staff shortages in skilled nursing facilities have made it difficult for many hospitals to find placements for inpatients in long-term care facilities, as well as for people who can no longer be cared for at home.
Qualified nursing facilities that are at risk of understaffing can access this new funding and staffing support in consultation with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Health.
“Our long-term care facilities face a time when all stakeholders are on deck, and that is why we are taking unprecedented steps to support trained nurses, residents and patients,” said the Governor Walz. “The financial support will help our skilled nursing facilities hire and retain talented staff to care for patients, and the Minnesota National Guard is preparing to fill any staffing shortages. I am deeply grateful to the trained nurses who work so hard to care for so many Minnesotans every day. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to help Minnesota’s long-term care community get through this difficult time. “
The announcement comes after Governor Walz secured federal emergency medical teams to support Minnesota hospitals and provide relief to doctors and nurses as they treat COVID-19 and other patients. Emergency staffing teams are arriving this week and will support HCMC staff in Minneapolis and St. Cloud Hospital.
Initially, 400 members of the National Guard will begin training as certified nursing assistants and temporary nursing aides over the next seven days.
Qualified nursing facilities facing severe staffing shortages may seek assistance from the MDH, and selected facilities will receive a National Guard team to provide on-site personnel support for up to three weeks at a time. .
The Department of Health will work closely with the National Guard to lead the deployment of response teams to skilled nursing facilities statewide.
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