$60 million on the way to Arizona hospital staff

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced this week that more than $60 million in funds is on its way to support staff at health care sites throughout the state. 

 

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The funding is aimed at supporting facilities that, according to the release, administer proven techniques which prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes sites that offer services such as monoclonal antibody treatments, which the Food and Drug Administration provided emergency authorization for this past year, and other services such as administering vaccines to patients upon discharge. 

Monoclonal antibodies, one of the treatments promoted under the new staff funding plan, are designed to block COVID-19’s attachment and entry into human cells. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), the treatment can be used for both mild to severe patients, and, when administered early enough, can dramatically decrease the patient’s risk of serious symptoms. 

Gov. Ducey commended the efforts of health care workers during the pandemic and claimed that the funding should help alleviate some of the stress they’re under. 

“This funding opportunity will decrease stress on existing hospital staff, increase hiring opportunities and decrease the risk of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arizona.”

Even as COVID-19 hospitalizations are making up a lower proportion of total hospitalizations compared to previous waves, according to the ADHS, hospitals continue to deal with new patients. This places an increasing burden on nurses, respiratory therapists, and other health care providers. 

According to ADHS, the demand for health care workers across Arizona and the U.S., combined with the increasing costs [e.g. costs of hiring nurses] has placed additional strain on the health care system. 

The $60 million in funding should help ease the burden on health care facilities as they hire staff to help meet the demand. 

Linda Hunt, president and CEO of Dignity Health’s Southwest Division, expressed how dire the situation is at her facilities. 

“Health care workers are exhausted yet continue to step-up in the most heroic ways. The high volume of patients compounded by the shortage of doctors and nurses across the country is creating intense competition for a limited pool of nurses nationwide.”

She’s confident that the new funding will help mitigate the increasing burden the pandemic is placing on her staff and their resources. 

“I am grateful for Governor Ducey’s actions today to bring more health care workers to Arizona as we navigate through this latest surge. This effort will help provide the relief desperately needed for our most valued resource — our staff.”