DOD Military Medical Teams arrive at Strong Memorial Hospital

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Two U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Military Medical Teams arrived at Strong Memorial Hospital over the weekend to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and New York State’s efforts to fill staffing gaps.

Each team consists of about 40 clinical personnel and support staff, including doctors, medical-surgical nurses, respiratory therapists and medical technicians from across the country.

The teams arrived on Saturday and are now in the process of being trained in hospital systems and procedures so they can start working in the medical-surgical, alternative level of care and other hospital units starting this week.

Other teams have been deployed to the SUNY Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse and the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo in response to the ongoing healthcare staffing crisis in New York.

The hospital and DOD are planning a press conference on all this for later this week, but two weeks ago, when Strong announced it got approved for this help, URMC Vice President Kathy Parrinello told News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke despite the downward COVID trends, they still need it desperately.

"Our vacancy rate is higher than it’s ever been and we’re taking care of patients that have all the other diseases and conditions that people typically have in the winter," Parrinello said. "We take care of patients that have dramatic injury heart attack stroke so all of those patients plus still we have about 200 patients with COVID in hospitals."

These teams are current full-time members of the military who are medically trained and certified so they are able to work in the hospital. Members of the National Guard who are trained EMTs are currently deployed in New York State nursing homes.