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105 temporary health care workers set to deploy to Minnesota hospitals this week

Gov. Tim Walz announced that the first round of staffing support teams was set to move out to 23 hospitals.

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, spoke to reporters outside of Regions Hospital in St. Paul about the state's latest efforts to bolster health care staff in Minnesota.
Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service
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ST. PAUL — More than 100 contract health care workers were set to deploy to hospitals around the state to relieve burned-out employees, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

The push to get extra help out to health care facilities comes as the state sees a continued surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the omicron variant. Health care leaders said the illness sickened many doctors, nurses, custodians and others, limiting the number of patients they can treat.

And that limitation comes at a time when hospitals are seeing more COVID-19 patients, along with patients requiring intensive care for other injuries and illnesses. As of Monday, Jan. 17, more than 1,600 people were being treated for COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals and nearly 250 were in intensive care.

“At this critical moment, when our doctors and nurses are asking for our help, we are providing it," Walz said in a news release. "More than 100 nurses will provide urgent care and relieve overworked staff at Minnesota hospitals right away, with more help on the way."

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With just a week left in the legislative session, the leaders set out their broad parameters for how the money should be spent and said conference committees would determine specifics for how the funds would go out over the coming days.

The governor last week announced that the state would spend $40 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to bring in travel nursing teams to work up to 60 hours a week for two months.

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Additional nursing teams are set to be sent out after the first 105 begin their work this week in 23 hospitals. The department of health said it made sure to bring on health care workers that weren't already employed in Minnesota hospitals.

To maintain hospital capacity, Minnesota has brought in federal health care teams, activated National Guard members to work as nursing assistants, set up alternative care sites to reduce bottlenecks that kept patients in emergency room settings and set a target of training 1,000 more certified nursing assistants by the end of January.

Department of Higher Education Commissioner Dennis Olson on Wednesday said the state was on track to reach that target. And the new CNAs would go on to help demobilize National Guard members serving as caregivers.

Here is a list of Minnesota hospitals set to get staffing support this week:

  • Winona Health
  • Lake Region Healthcare
  • Alomere Health
  • Sanford Bemidji Medical Center
  • Carris Health — Willmar
  • Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center
  • Sanford Worthington Medical Center
  • Mayo Clinic Health System — Mankato
  • Essentia Health — St Mary's Medical Center
  • CentraCare Monticello
  • M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center — Wyoming
  • M Health Fairview Northland Medical Center — Princeton
  • M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital
  • Allina Health Clinic — Buffalo
  • Allina Health — Cambridge Medical Center
  • CentraCare Melrose
  • Mercy Hospital
  • Abbott Northwestern Hospital
  • Regions Hospital
  • North Memorial Hospital
  • Hennepin County Medical Center
  • M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center
  • United Hospital

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com.

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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