Health officials ask National Guard to help ‘dire’ staffing shortage

Oregon

A total of 696 employees are currently using COVID leave.

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The Oregon State Hospital, 2016 (KOIN, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Health officials are asking for the National Guard’s assistance in mitigating a staffing shortage at the Oregon State Hospital.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon State Hospital has been experiencing a staffing shortage on its Salem Campus. They say without personnel resources to help this “dire situation,” the hospital will not be able to provide proper services to patients.

Officials have now officially submitted a request through the Office of Emergency Management to bring in 30 nurses from the National Guard. The OHA has been in ongoing discussions with the guard throughout the shortage.

Hundreds of hospital staff are reportedly using some type of COVID-19 leave. The number of those utilizing the leave spiked in February, with a 45% increase in direct care staff (195 to 283) from February to March, along with a 47% increase for all employees (281 to 412).

A total of 696 employees are currently using COVID leave.

OSH has deployed a number of different strategies to stifle the shortage, including an accelerated hiring and onboarding process for the relief pool, hiring as many nurses through contract agencies as possible, asking for volunteers from the OHA and other state agencies and more. Although those different strategies have helped, it has not been enough.

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