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Governor Walz takes action to support Minnesota long-term care facilities

Minnesota COVID-19 Response
Minnesota COVID-19 Response(MGN)
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:40 AM CST
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ST.PAUL, MN (KBJR)-- Governor Tim Walz announced Monday he is taking action to support Minnesota’s long-term care facilities.

Governor Walz is activating the Minnesota National Guard to form skilled nursing “response teams” that will provide support to long-term facilities experiencing staffing shortages. It’s part of an effort to continue to address hospital capacity concerns amid growing pressure on the state’s health care system due to COVID-19.

Walz is also proposing providing $50 million in federal funding to facilities to help with the hiring and retention of staff.

Staffing shortages in skilled-nursing facilities have made it difficult for many hospitals to find placements for hospital patients in long-term care settings, as well as for individuals who can no longer be cared for in their homes.

Skilled-nursing facilities that are at risk of staffing shortages 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 are facing an all-hands-on-deck moment, and that’s why we are taking unprecedented action to support skilled nursing workers, residents, and patients,” said Governor Walz. “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 gaps. I am deeply thankful to the skilled nursing personnel who work so hard to care for so many Minnesotans every day. I pledge to do whatever it takes to help Minnesota’s long-term care community get through this challenging time.”

The announcement comes after Governor Walz secured emergency federal medical teams to support Minnesota hospitals and relieve doctors and nurses as they treat COVID-19 and other patients. The emergency staffing teams arrive this week and will support staff at HCMC in Minneapolis and St. Cloud Hospital.

Initially, 400 National Guard members will start training as certified nursing assistants and temporary nursing aides over the next seven days.

Skilled-nursing facilities that face severe staffing shortfalls can request assistance from MDH, and selected facilities will receive a National Guard team to provide on-site staffing support for up to three weeks at a time.

The Department of Health will work closely with the National Guard to direct the deployment of response teams to skilled-nursing facilities around the state.

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