1,000 contract medical workers to help with Mississippi COVID surge

Coronavirus

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves held a news conference on Tuesday, August 24, to discuss the state’s COVID-19 response. According to the governor, about 1,000 healthcare workers from across the country are being dispatched to Mississippi hospitals to help with understaffing. He said the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is currently contracting with four vendors to provide medical personnel to 61 hospitals statewide.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is coordinating with applicable licensing boards to vet the licenses of all healthcare workers who are contracted. The state is currently contracting with the following vendors: H&S, Snapnurse, GQR and Maxim.

“We are doing whatever it takes to get boots on the ground in our hospitals. Today, we are deploying over 1,000 healthcare personnel within 9 business days of the initial request. Our top priority is to ensure that every Mississippian who can get better with quality care receives that care. We are grateful for those that are answering the call to alleviate the pressure on our healthcare workers. To the current healthcare staff in the state, we thank you for your continued dedication to our fellow Mississippians,” said Reeves. 

Starting August 24, 808 nurses, three certified registered nurse anesthetists, 22 nurse practitioners, 193 respiratory therapists and 20 paramedics will deploy to 50 hospitals.

“Medical staffing provided by the state is for the COVID-19 mission to address the surge of patients due to the Delta Variant. Our staff has worked tirelessly to give our hospitals the relief they need and deserve. We are working with FEMA to secure reimbursement for these contracts worth roughly $10 million a week statewide for eight and a half weeks. MEMA stands ready to coordinate any additional resources needed,” said MEMA Executive Director Stephen McCraney.

MEMA is requesting an expedited federal reimbursement from FEMA to cover the costs of medical staffing contracts.

Current hospitals with deployment orders for medical personnel as of August 24, 2021:

UMMCGeorge Co Hosp – LucedaleJefferson Davis Community – Prentiss
St. DominicDelta Health Med – GreenvillePearl River Co – Poplarville
North MS Medical CenterMerit Health RankinMerit Health River Oaks – Flowood
Merit Health CentralNorth MS Med – West PointMerit Health Biloxi
Forrest General HospitalMerit Health MadisonSouthwest MS Regional Med – McComb
Rush Foundation HospitalBaptist Mem – Golden TriangleMethodist Olive Branch
Singing River – PascagoulaAnderson Regional – MeridianDelta Health NW Regional – Clarksdale
Merit Health WesleyOktibbeha Co Hosp – StarkvilleUMMC Grenada
Singing River – Ocean SpringsNorth MS Med Gilmore – AmoryBaptist Memorial Booneville
MS Baptist Med Center – JXN #10Magnolia Regional Health-CorinthMerit Health Natchez
Memorial Hospital – GulfportTippah Co HospitalOchsner Medical Center Hancock – Bay St. Louis
Greenwood LefloreMagee General – MageePanola Medical Center – Batesville
Singing River GulfportWebster Health Services – EuporaSharkey Issaquena Comm Hospital – Rolling Fork
Merit Health River RegionJefferson Co Hospital – FayetteClaiborne Co Medical Center – Port Gibson
Baptist Memorial – DesotoSouth Sunflower – IndianolaHC Watkins Memorial – Quitman
Baptist Memorial – North MSBaptist Memorial – CalhounCopiah Co Medical Center – Hazlehurst
King’s DaughterBaptist Memorial – YazooUMMC Holmes County – Lexington
South Central – LaurelPerry County General – RichtonLackey Memorial Hospital – Forest
Baptist Memorial – New AlbanyMarion General – ColumbiaField Health System – Centreville
Walthall General Hospital – TylertownKPC Promise Hospital of VicksburgAlliance Healthcare – Holly Springs
Highland Community Hospital   

On Monday, officials announced 40 military medical support personnel will be deployed to two hospitals in Mississippi. The military personnel, including nurses, respiratory therapists and medical doctors, will support the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson and the North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo in Tupelo.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said the number of cases and hospitalizations appeared to be leveling off.

On Tuesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported 3,291 new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state, along with 111 additional deaths on Tuesday. Byers said the additional deaths were the “highest total of deaths to date” in the pandemic.

During the news conference, Reeves said he has not visited any hospitals at this time, but he’s talked to hospital administrations.

At this time, the governor does not anticipate any lockdowns or mask mandates.

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