FEMA will announce expanded flexibility for the National Guard

A National Guard airman is trained in hospital procedures last month at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts National Guard mobilized soldiers and airmen to help address the shortage of medical personnel. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images)

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Dean Criswell is set to announce in Friday’s White House news stories of the Biden administration’s new steps to help ease staffing shortages at hospitals across the country amid the spread of the Omicron version. Information is given.

On Thursday, an administration official told CNN, Criswell “directed the expansion of FEMA policy to support governors in using their National Guard to meet urgent staffing needs in health facilities.”

This FEMA directive means that governors have more flexibility to use members of the National Guard for support services in hospitals.

“Now, FEMA provides governors with the flexibility to perform critical support missions in first aid facilities when, in the judgment of public health officials, it is necessary to do so to maintain the provision of COVID-19 medical care at those facilities and Failure to do so will result in failure. There is an immediate threat to public health and safety,” the official said.

The official said those additional services members of the National Guard now “include activities such as linen and laundry services, food preparation and distribution, biomedical waste removal, perimeter fencing, contracted security guards, professional cleaning and other related services.” can.”

More Background: This extended help comes as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. Some states’ health care systems are surrounded by nearly complete intensive care units. Nineteen states have less than 15% capacity left in their intensive care units. Four of them have less than 10%: Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and New Hampshire, according to data Wednesday from the US Department of Health and Human Services. Due to increasing cases, there has been a shortage of staff in hospitals from doctors to support staff.

President Biden announced on Thursday that the US has deployed 120 military medical personnel to six additional hard-hit states: Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and New Mexico.

Since Thanksgiving, he said, more than 800 military and other federal personnel have been deployed to 24 states, tribes and territories, including more than 350 military doctors, nurses and medics. More than 14,000 National Guard members are also active in 49 states. All those deployments, he noted, are paid for in full for the Covid relief package passed by Congress early last year. He said he has also directed FEMA to ensure that every state has adequate hospital bed capacity.

Friday’s announcement is to address a shortage of additional personnel. The use of the National Guard will be paid for by FEMA, as authorized by Biden, by April 1.

Criswell is joined by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at the briefing room podium at 11:45 a.m.


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