Nursing homes react to Hochul National Guard announcement

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Governor Kathy Hochul is calling on the National Guard to step in and help fill staffing vacancies at nursing homes, and long term care facilities all across the state.

We talked to Susan Murty, Vice President and Administrator of St. Ann’s Community, a senior housing and health care provider. She says any help they can get is welcomed, but they only need specific types of employees.

"We have surveyed our National Guard resources, and we know that there are numbers who have EMT training, or health care backgrounds, and we can deploy them in a targeted way," said Hochul..

Murty says Hochul’s announcement leaves more questions than answers.

"I’m curious who she is going to send, and whose going to be called up, and where are they coming from," said Murty.

She went on to say she desperately needs Direct Care employees.

"I would be very appreciative of nurses, and CNA’s who have senior care experience who understand how to take care of seniors in a way that’s compassionate, and loving," said Murty.

Stephen Hanse, President and CEO of the New York State Health Facilities Association agrees with Hochul’s announcement for one reason: staffing shortages have led to nursing homes being unable to receive new patients.

"So anything to work in the health care continuum to ease that burden on hospitals to allow individuals to be discharged from a hospital to a nursing home so long as we have sufficient staff is welcomed," said Hanse.

He continued, by also saying that the Governor’s plan is just a temporary fix, not a long term solution.

"We need to recruit, and retain workers into long term care, and that starts in high schools. That starts in community colleges, and SUNY system. So really to educate men, and women of the fulfilling careers that are available in long term care," said Hanse.

He finished by saying that Hochul needs to adequately fund Medicaid, and dedicate those dollars to health care workers in order to not only compete in the market place, but to also recruit and retain these valuable employees.