Rep. Arrington says state should help with medical staff shortage as Hendrick recruits retired nurses

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ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Faced with rising COVID-19 cases and decreasing bed space, Hendrick health is reaching out to retired and former medical staff to come on board temporarily.

According to Hendrick VP and Chief of Nursing Susan Greenwood, staff is tired and stressed, and with little help from the state, community support is in high demand.

“This surge, it has hit Hendrick especially hard,” Greenwood says. “Our beds are full at all three campuses. Our ICU beds are full, we have ICU overflowed into areas that normally don’t take care of ICU patients, our emergency department is full.”

With no room to spare, Hendrick Health is now having to deny both regional and state patient transfer requests, a regrettable though necessary fact, according to Greenwood.

When this level of emergency was met in 2020, the state responded with close to 250 medical staff being offered as aid, which is precisely the route U.S. Representative Jodey Arrington says we should take to alleviate the pressure.

“So I think we’ve got to go back to the state and we’ve got to use the monies that were allocated to the states on behalf of the taxpayers through the federal government,” says Arrington.

Hendrick has done just that, recently applying for a State of Texas Assistant Resources (STAR) request for more nursing aid, but aren’t getting the same results as last year.

“We have requested the same number we got previously. That number has not been allocated from the state,” said Greenwood.

Of the near 250 requested, only about a dozen have been allotted by the state, though they have not yet arrived.

“Even the number that we were allocated, we have not received them because the staffing agency is not able to fulfill that request,” Greenwood said.

Even so, Arrington stands firm that the federal money allocated to each state should be enough to cover our needs.

“The American taxpayers have underwritten COVID relief to the tune of trillions of dollars. The State of Texas still has tens of billions of dollars,” Arrington stated.

But somewhere along the way, all those dollars aren’t translating to extra hands for Texas hospitals, which is why Hendrick Health is now looking to the community for support.

“We would love to have your help, specifically during this time we have for you to apply and just be hired as a temporary nurse, even if you’re not trained or skilled to take care of a full team of patients we can use your skills in other ways, just helping the nurses that are here extend their care to our patients,” says Greenwood.

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