Feds approve military personnel for Spectrum, Beaumont; Northern Michigan Hospitals Seeking Help

While two of Michigan’s largest hospitals are who plan to unite sometime this year – receive aid, northern Michigan hospitals are also waiting in the wings for federal aid.

The Sault Sainte-Marie War Memorial Hospital is also asking 22 nurses and two doctors to help reduce the workload, Upper Peninsula Hospital President and CEO David Yang told Crain’s.

“We have 25% of our nursing staff vacancies,” Yang said. “We need these additional hands to help our employees and give us sanity.”

The War Memorial currently has 14 inpatients with COVID-19, down from a peak of 23 last spring. It’s the non-COVID volume in the hospital’s emergency department that overwhelms its staff, Jan said.

The War Memorial branch has averaged about 1,500 monthly visits over the past four months, up from 1,200 monthly visits in 2018 and 2019. The hospital has only one emergency doctor per 12-hour shift, Yang said.

“We can handle 30 to 40 patients a day, but now we are getting 60 or more,” Yang said.

Yang said he hopes federal medical personnel can assist War Memorial in providing monoclonal antibody therapy to COVID patients. In the hospital, the emergency department received about 300 treatments that take a long time. Antibody therapy reduces the threat of death from the virus by 70% for high-risk patients.

“A couple of nurses and a doctor (from the federal government) to run the monoclonal clinic will really help reduce the pressure on our emergency doctors,” Yang said.

There are many patients in rural hospitals for various reasons. This is partly due to the fact that in the supply chain patients are transferred to other hospitals for treatment, as there is shortage of ambulance drivers and paramedics… Other problems include nursing homes and psychiatric facilities with small staff that cannot admit patients, leaving these patients stuck in a hospital bed.

Other rural hospitals simply cannot afford to pay rising overtime and large recruiting agency bills as reimbursement did not match higher costs during the pandemic

“At this time, we cannot continue to pay for temporary staff … we cannot continue to do so without additional reimbursement from Medicare, Medicaid or the Blue Cross Blue Shield,” Yang said. “We need to allow our employees to take vacations, or at least relieve them of the extra shifts they take on.”

MDHHS did not confirm whether it applied for federal aid to northern state hospitals.

Jan did not know the timeline either.

Michigan reported 17,008 new COVID-19 cases and 83 deaths on Monday, averaging 5,669.3 cases over a three-day period. Of the 83 deaths announced Monday, 32 were identified through an analysis of the records.

– Editor’s note: The previous version of this story did not include the second request for federal personnel, which was approved Wednesday. The current version is accurate.

This story first appeared in our sister publication, Detroit Crane Business

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