Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Deanne Criswell is set to announce at Friday’s White House information briefing new steps from the Biden administration to assist alleviate staffing shortages at hospitals throughout the nation amid the unfold of the Omicron variant.
On Thursday, an administration official informed NCS, Criswell “directed an expansion of FEMA policy to support Governors in using their National Guard to meet urgent staffing needs at healthcare facilities.”
This course from FEMA signifies that governors have extra flexibility to make use of National Guard members for assist companies at hospitals.
“Now, FEMA has granted governors flexibility to perform vital support missions at primary medical facilities when, in the judgment of public health officials, doing so is necessary to sustain the provision of Covid-19 medical care at those facilities and failure to do so would constitute an immediate threat to the public health and safety,” the official stated.
Those further companies National Guard members can now present embody “activities like linen and laundry services, food preparation and delivery, biomedical waste removal, perimeter fencing, contracted security guards, professional cleaning, and other related services,” the official stated.
More background: That expanded assist comes as instances proceed to surge and hospitalizations rise. Some states’ health care systems are beset with nearly-full intensive care units. Nineteen states have much less than 15% remaining capability of their intensive care models. Four of them have much less than 10%: Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and New Hampshire, based on information Wednesday from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The rising instances have led to decreased staffing at hospitals, from medical doctors to assist employees.
President Biden announced Thursday that the US has deployed 120 navy medical personnel to 6 further hard-hit states: Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, and New Mexico.
Since Thanksgiving, he stated, over 800 navy and different federal personnel have been deployed throughout 24 states, tribes, and territories, together with over 350 navy medical doctors, nurses, and medics. More than 14,000 National Guard members are additionally activated in 49 states. All of these deployments, he famous are absolutely paid for by the Covid aid package deal handed by Congress early final yr. He stated he has additionally directed FEMA to make sure there is sufficient hospital mattress capability in each state.
Friday’s announcement is meant to alleviate further personnel shortages. The use of the National Guard will probably be paid for by FEMA, as licensed by Biden, via April 1.
Criswell joins White House press secretary Jen Psaki on the briefing room podium at 11:45 a.m. ET.