Jefferson City, MO (STL.News) As hospitals across Missouri continue to face staffing challenges due to COVID-19, Missouri Governor Mike Parson today announced a 12-week partnership with Vizient, the nation’s leading health care performance improvement company, to bring in additional staff and further expand statewide hospital capacity.
“Since the start of COVID-19, we have continually monitored Missouri’s statewide health care system and focused on supporting our hospitals and health care workers as much as possible,” Governor Parson said. “Staffing continues to be one of the biggest challenges right now, and we are currently doing everything we can at the state level to assist.”
“Other states like Arizona have worked with Vizient through the COVID-19 crisis, so we are hopeful that this will provide meaningful support for our hospitals and the people of Missouri,” Governor Parson continued.
Through the partnership, Vizient will deploy up to 760 additional staff members through its contracted agencies to multiple, geographically dispersed hospitals across the state, including registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and certified nurse assistants. When fully deployed, the plan will add nearly 600 hospital beds to Missouri’s statewide bed capacity.
The state will fund the first phase of the project through the end of this year using CARES Act funding, and hospital partners will fund the remainder.
“The state’s new partnership with Vizient will allow rapid deployment of staff to support hospital capacity in all regions of the state,” said Missouri Hospital Association President and CEO Herb Kuhn. “In the days and weeks ahead, these agency staff workers will provide essential support to our hospitals. We thank Governor Parson for his efforts to deliver these skilled caregivers to help address the staff shortages that present a threat to hospitals’ capacity to provide care to the critically ill.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor’s Office has worked closely with MHA, infectious disease doctors, and numerous other health care providers across the state to monitor Missouri’s health care system and ensure adequate resources and capacity.
Since March, the state has waived over 600 regulations, including many to help hospitals and health care providers with staffing needs and other COVID-19 challenges. Missouri has also granted and secured numerous other waivers to expand hospital capabilities and allow more personnel to care for COVID-19 patients.
Additionally, the state has distributed more than 50 million units of PPE, allocated over $5 million to expand broadband for telehealth across the state, and removed barriers to allow doctors to treat more patients through telemedicine.