Hochul: National Guard to help nursing homes

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NEW YORK CITY (WHEC) – New York Governor Kathy Hochul says she is prepared to deploy National Guard members to nursing homes in upstate New York that have been crippled by staffing shortages.

The Finger Lakes region currently has just 9% of available staffed hospital capacity, Central New York has 8% and Western New York is sitting at 11%. A big part of the capacity issue stems from dozens of nursing homes closing their doors to new admissions because of staffing shortages. Health systems can’t find long-term care facilities willing to accept discharges so those patients are backing up in the hospitals.

“One area where I can add more staffing is the National Guard,” Governor Hochul said at a press briefing on Monday, “we have surveyed our National Guard resources and we know that there are a number of members who have EMT training or health care backgrounds and we can deploy them in a targeted way to the health care facilities, nursing homes and long-term health care facilities where they’re having a shortage.”

The Governor did not provide any details beyond that either during the briefing or in a follow-up request from News10NBC asking for details on how many guard members would be activated, how long they would be deployed and where specifically they might go.
Governor Hochul did say that the National Guard isn’t the only help that will be coming upstate, “we’ve asked our downstate partners, where there is plenty of capacity–you saw that the hospitals that have plenty of capacity downstate, some of them have agreed to help shift some personnel temporarily to our hotspot areas,” she says.