Updated: January 12, 2022 01:24 PM
Created: January 12, 2022 11:33 AM
Gov. Tim Walz is asking a legislative commission to approve $40 million for hospital staffing and regulators are easing some rules in response to capacity and staffing problems at Minnesota's hospitals and nursing homes.
As of Wednesday, 97.7% of Minnesota's adult ICU beds and 95.2% of the state's adult non-ICU beds were in use.
The $40 million would come from funding provided by the federal American Rescue Plan. It would cover the costs to hire emergency providers, mostly nurses, who would work 60 hours per week at certain hospitals.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Health is waiving fees and restrictions for hospitals and nursing homes that want to add new beds. MDH will also allow nursing homes to reactivate beds that they had previously sought to leave vacant and permit some nursing homes to move patients without normal waiting periods.
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the measures underscore the dire situation caused by the surge in the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
"Minnesota's doctors, nurses, hospital, and long-term care staff are working heroically to make sure all of us get the care we need. We all owe it to them to do our part. We are working hard as a state to support them, and we need all Minnesotans to do their part to minimize the spread of COVID-19," Malcolm said in a news release.
Walz submitted his request for the $40 million in funding to the Legislative COVID-19 Response Commission on Wednesday.
Copyright 2022 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved