Montana Governor: National Guard Resources for COVID Response

HELENA,MT (STL.News) Governor  Greg Gianforte today announced that 10 Montana National Guardsmen have volunteered to assist the Billings Clinic in its COVID-19 response.

“Over the last year, soldiers in the Montana National Guard have consistently stepped up to the plate, and today is no different,” Gov. Gianforte said.  “We’ll continue working with hospitals to address their individual needs as the state responds to COVID-19.”

“Billings Clinic is incredibly grateful to have support from the Montana National Guard to help with immense capacity and staffing challenges we are experiencing with this latest COVID-19 surge.  We thank Gov. Greg Gianforte and his team along with the Montana Department of Health and Human Services, local and state Disaster and Emergency Services, the Montana National Guard and everyone involved in securing these critical resources during this time of great need,” said Scott Ellner, DO, CEO, Billings Clinic.

In late August, Billings Clinic submitted a formal request for 10 soldiers to the governor’s office to assist in its COVID-19 response.  To date, Billings Clinic is the only hospital in the state to formally request Guard resources.

At the time of Billings Clinic’s request, nearly 600 Montana National Guard soldiers were activated as part of the state’s wildland fire response.

Immediately working with Billings Clinic, the state identified mid-September as the target date to fulfill the hospital’s request.  At the direction of the governor, the Montana National Guard solicited volunteers to assist Billings Clinic with its request.  Beginning Wednesday, they will begin assisting the hospital in its response.

In recent weeks, the governor’s office has been providing resources to hospitals to help them secure necessary staffing and is proactively collaborating with hospitals directly to help address needs as they arise.

At the governor’s direction, the Department of Emergency Services is assisting hospitals in the process of securing full reimbursements from FEMA for their COVID-19 staffing needs.

The governor also announced today that seven volunteer Montana National Guard soldiers will begin assisting the state lab on Wednesday with its COVID-19 response.