Virginia – The medical system’s response during the pandemic was not at the level many expected it to be, and nearly three years into the pandemic, health departments across the country are working to determine what went wrong and how the medical system can improve in the future. Labor shortages, especially a lack of nurses, were the major problem most hospitals struggled with, and it will probably take years before hospitals get back to what they say is a normal number of workers.
Hospitals were not the only facilities that struggled during the pandemic. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities were also heavily impacted by the pandemic, and many of these facilities faced operational difficulties, mostly caused by labor shortages. Strict pandemic measures forced many workers to leave the profession, and the other employees were forced to work extra hours to keep these facilities running. That, understandably, came at a cost because managements had to increase salaries to keep existing workers and potentially attract new candidates to fill the open job positions.
To help and support the health system, the federal government passed the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021” worth nearly $2 trillion. The project was designed to facilitate the United States’ recovery from the devastating economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nearly $2 trillion price tag makes this economic rescue legislation one of the most expensive in U.S. history.
Earlier this week, Virginia officials confirmed that the Virginia Department of Health had been awarded nearly $10 million in ARPA funds to assist and support nine organizations in the state in their efforts to accelerate COVID-19 recovery. All nine organizations are long-term care facilities and nursing homes. The $9.9 million awarded to VDH should improve these facilities’ response to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, particularly in terms of keeping everyone involved in the process healthy and preventing virus infection.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Colin Greene said, “The funding will enhance existing services and create new models that focus on the health and well-being of the individuals they serve.”
These are the nine organizations receiving grant money:
- Carilion Medical Center
- Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS)
- Health Quality Innovators (HQI)
- LeadingAge Virginia
- University of Virginia (UVA)
- Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)
- Virginia Department of Health, Division of Pharmacy Services
- Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS)
- Virginia Health Care Association (VHCA-VCAL)