FEMA Administrator to Announce Increased Flexibility for National Guard to Help Support Hospitals | national


Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell is expected to announce at the White House press conference new measures from the Biden administration to help ease staffing shortages at hospitals across the country. country in the midst of the spread of the Omicron variant.

On Thursday, an administration official told CNN that Criswell “led an expansion of FEMA policy to help governors use their National Guard to meet urgent staffing needs at health care facilities.”

This direction from FEMA, which was previewed exclusively on CNN, means governors have more flexibility to use National Guard members for support services at hospitals.

“FEMA has now granted governors the ability to perform vital support missions to primary medical facilities when, in the opinion of public health officials, it is necessary to maintain the provision of Covid-19 medical care. in these establishments and failure to do so would pose an immediate threat to public health and safety,” the official said.

These additional services National Guard members can now provide include “activities such as linen and laundry services, food preparation and delivery, biomedical waste removal, perimeter fencing, contracted security, professional cleaning and other related services,” the official said.

This expanded aid comes as cases continue to rise and hospitalizations rise.

Some states’ health systems are plagued with nearly full intensive care units. Nineteen states have less than 15% capacity remaining in their ICUs. Four of them have less than 10%: Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and New Hampshire, according to data Wednesday from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The increase in cases has led to fewer staff in hospitals, from doctors to support staff.

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the United States has deployed 120 military medical personnel to six other hard-hit states: Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and New Mexico.

Since Thanksgiving, he said, more than 800 military and other federal personnel have been deployed to 24 states, tribes and territories, including more than 350 military doctors, nurses and nurses. More than 14,000 National Guard members are also active in 49 states. All of those deployments, he noted, are fully funded by the Covid relief package passed by Congress early last year. He said he also asked FEMA to make sure there were enough hospital beds in every state.

Friday’s announcement is intended to alleviate additional staffing shortages. National Guard use will be paid for by FEMA, as authorized by Biden, through April 1.


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