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Missouri governor announces new partnership to expand hospital capacity in the state

The 12-week partnership with health care services company Vizient will bring in additional staff and further expand the state's hospital capacity

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced a new partnership to expand the state's hospital capacity. 

Gov. Parson made the announcement Wednesday evening with Missouri Hospital Association President and CEO Herb Kuhn.

This comes as Parson said there are plenty of hospital beds available and the issue is that there are not enough doctors and nurses to staff the beds.

The 12-week partnership with health care services company Vizient will bring in additional staff and further expand the state's hospital capacity.

“Since the start of COVID-19, we have continually monitored Missouri’s statewide health care system and focused on supporting our hospitals and health care workers as much as possible,” Gov. Parson said. “Staffing continues to be one of the biggest challenges right now, and we are currently doing everything we can at the state level to assist.”

Gov. Parson said other states like Arizona have worked with Vizient through the pandemic. 

According to a release from the governor's office, Vizient will deploy up to 760 additional staff members through its contracted agencies to multiple, geographically dispersed hospitals across the state, including registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and certified nurse assistants.

The plan will add nearly 600 hospital beds to the statewide bed capacity. 

The state will fund the first phase of the project through the end of this year using CARES Act funding and hospital partners will fund the remainder. 

“The state’s new partnership with Vizient will allow rapid deployment of staff to support hospital capacity in all regions of the state,” said Missouri Hospital Association President and CEO Herb Kuhn. “In the days and weeks ahead, these agency staff workers will provide essential support to our hospitals. We thank Governor Parson for his efforts to deliver these skilled caregivers to help address the staff shortages that present a threat to hospitals’ capacity to provide care to the critically ill.”

In the St. Louis area, on Wednesday the task force reported staffed bed hospital capacity is at 82%, an average across the task force hospitals. The ICUs are at 87% of their total staffed bed capacity.

COVID-19 VACCINES

Missouri is prepared to receive its first shipment of 51,675 vaccine doses from Pfizer in mid-December, according to the governor's spokesperson. Gov. Parson said he is confident in the state's plan.

On Nov. 23, the state released its plan of who would be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine first. There will be a "'phased" approach to the COVID-19 vaccination in the state. The state's plans are based upon CDC guidance.

On Wednesday, the state's health department reported 305,370 COVID-19 cases and 4,043 deaths, which is a single-day increase of 2,679 cases and 37 deaths.

According to the department's dashboard, cases and testing have decreased by more than 30% over the last seven days when compared to the previous seven days.