Governor Requesting $40 Million To Support Hospital Staffing
ST. PAUL, Minn. – On Wednesday, Governor Walz announced his intention to provide $40 million in new funding to help support hospital staffing to serve Minnesotans across the state during the current surge of COVID-19 cases brought on by the Omicron variant.
The governor’s office says Walz submitted his plan for the funding from the American Rescue Plan to the Legislative COVID-19 Response Commission.
The $40 million will cover the costs for providers (mostly RNs) who will work 60 hours per week for 60 days to provide care to patients at certain Minnesota hospitals dealing with staffing shortages due to COVID-19.
“As we look ahead to the next few weeks, we know we’re going to continue to see a sharp rise in cases from the Omicron variant across our state. To help hospitals provide Minnesotans with the most urgent care, we’re announcing $40 million in funding to increase emergency staffing support during the Omicron surge,” said Governor Walz. “This funding will support our health care heroes and help Minnesotans get the care they need. Minnesotans also have an important role to play in supporting our hospitals. The best thing they can do to protect themselves and their families and support our frontline workers is to get vaccinated, get boosted, get tested, wear a mask indoors, and to stay home when they are sick.”
Additionally, the Governor announced that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is taking emergency action to provide regulatory relief to hospitals and long-term care facilities, allowing them to expand capacity to more easily treat additional patients. In response to requests from long-term care providers and hospitals, MDH’s actions include:
- Waiving licensing fees and restrictions associated with adding new beds in hospitals or nursing homes in response to a COVID surge and;
- allowing nursing homes to quickly expand capacity by reactivating beds they had previously applied to leave vacant and;
- permitting certain nursing homes to more easily move or transfer patients without normal transfer and waiting periods.
As of Tuesday, Minnesota hospitals are treating more than 1,500 COVID-19 patients, including nearly 260 in the ICU. This number is expected to rise in the coming days. At the same time, many hospitals are dealing with staffing absences due to COVID-19, further squeezing staff capacity.