Reeves announces medical personnel being sent to hospitals

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is currently contracting with four vendors to provide medical personnel to 61 hospitals statewide to meet the staffing shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is coordinating with applicable licensing boards to vet the licenses of all healthcare workers who are contracted. Vendors are selected based on pricing and staffing availability. The state is currently contracting with the following vendors: H&S, Snapnurse, GQR and Maxim. Additional vendors have been contacted to assist in medical staffing shortages.

“We are doing whatever it takes to get boots on the ground in our hospitals,” said Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday. “Today, we are deploying over 1,000 healthcare personnel within nine 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.”

Starting Aug. 24, 808 nurses, three certified registered nurse anesthetists, 22 nurse practitioners, 193 respiratory therapists and 20 paramedics will deploy to 50 hospitals. Onboarding medical staffing is a phased-in approach. Level 1 and 2 trauma hospital requests have been fulfilled; Level 3 hospital requests are being processed and fulfilled. All staffing requests should be met by the end of the week.

“Medical staffing provided by the state is for the COVID-19 mission to address the surge of patients due to the Delta Variant,” said MEMA Executive Director Stephen McCraney. “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,” says MEMA Executive Director Stephen McCraney. MEMA is requesting an expedited federal reimbursement from FEMA to cover the costs of medical staffing contracts.”

The medical staffing needs advertised in the original ‘request for quote’ included 65 physicians, 920 registered nurses, 41 CRNAs, 59 nurse practitioners (APN), 34 physician assistants, 239 respiratory therapists and 20 EMT paramedics. Nineteen vendors supplied RFQs.

When asked for comment on how this will affect the hospitals in DeSoto County, Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in Southaven and Methodist Olive Branch Hospital, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare spokeswoman Sarah Farley said in a statement, “Methodist Olive Branch Hospital made a request for additional resources. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. We encourage everyone who is eligible to get their vaccine. It is the only answer to this pandemic.”

In response to the same inquiry, a Baptist-DeSoto spokeswoman said, “Baptist-DeSoto has formally requested nurses and respiratory therapists from the state to help supplement staffing and the request has been formally approved. We will have an exact number of personnel in the coming days.”

Tuesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 3,291 new cases of coronavirus in the state. There were 111 new deaths reported from COVID-19, a new daily high for victims from the virus.

None of the latest death reports came from DeSoto County, which has reported 297 victims from coronavirus since the pandemic began in March 2020.  The county has seen 26,204 positive cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.  

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