Missouri hires national company to help with hospital capacity, staffing


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Health care facilities across the state are being challenged to find room for patients and the staff to care for them.

Now the state of Missouri is bringing in outside help to combat the shortages. Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday a new company is coming to the state to provide 600 beds and more than 700 skilled people to staff them.

“Staff is one of the biggest challenges facing our hospitals right now,” Parson said. “The issue is not so much about physical beds or space; we have plenty of hospital beds available right now. The issue is there aren’t enough doctors or nurses to staff these beds.”

Parson said the state is preparing for a potential surge in hospitalizations this winter. Part of that preparation is bringing in a company called Texas-based Vizient to help with staffing and capacity.

“We are currently doing all we can at the state level to help with staffing challenges,” Parson said.

The governor said Vizient will bring up to 760 additional health care workers such as nurses and respiratory therapist to Missouri.

“When fully deployed, this will add nearly 600 total beds to our statewide bed capacity including some critical care beds,” Parson said.

Missouri Hospital Association CEO and President Herb Kuhn said hospitals across the state will benefit from this.

“The state’s new partnership with Vizient will allow rapid deployment of staff to support additional hospital capacity in all regions of the state,” Kuhn said. “Throughout the past weeks, the infection rates and hospitalizations have continued to climb.”

Parson said the 12-week partnership will run through February but can be extended if needed. He did not know how much the service would cost but the state will pay for the service through the end of the year with CARES Act funding and the hospital partners will pay for the rest.

“Other state 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,” Parson said.

Earlier this year Parson waived regulations allowing nurses and health care staff with licenses outside of Missouri to work in the state.

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