Springfield-Greene County Well being Dept. receiving more cash for COVID-19 vaccine incentives

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri (KY3) – Springfield City Council approved a contract with the Missouri Department of Health to do more for obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine.

The city is being given $ 300,000 to incentivize more vaccinations. The approved new money will allow the department to purchase 6,700 more gift cards. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department provides incentives for anyone who receives their first or second dose of the vaccine. Employees reported that 35 percent of those who received the vaccination over the weekend at a specialty clinic in Springfield did so because of the incentives.

“It made a huge difference to us,” said Cara Erwin, communications and outreach manager for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. “We had a special event at the weekend. We had two locations at Williams Elementary School and our clinic on Battlefield East. And we vaccinated over 1,000, almost 1,000 people, and many, many of those people came knowing they were going to get the gift card. So that’s one of many reasons that motivates you to come here. “

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Copyright 2021 KY3. All rights reserved.

UNC Well being Superior Care at Residence shortens hospital stays, saves cash :: WRAL.com

– A new program from UNC Health enables many patients to leave the hospital earlier than possible and receive acute care at home. It is a program that will save the patient money and open up the much needed bed space in the hospital.

Local UNC TV legend Roy Underhill was recently a patient who benefited from the new program. His television show “The WoodWright Shop” is still on public television channels across the country.

“[It was] for 37 years. It’s one of the longest-running television programs, “said Underhill, who also teaches students how to use traditional woodworking tools as opposed to power tools.

His students come to his woodcarving school in Pittsboro, some from outside the United States. “In a next class we have a student from Norway who has seen all the shows,” said Underhill.

Less than a month ago, kidney infection robbed the 70-year-old of his strength. “It’s known as sepsis and is fatal,” Underhill said.

He was in the UNC emergency room 24 hours and spent another three days in acute care. However, Underhill was presented with a new option. He describes it this way: “They had a new program and they said I could be home and they would bring me hospital care!”

It’s called Advanced Care at Home, and it includes a home health monitoring system, backup power supplies and communication devices via a phone, and video via an iPad or even a button on a wristband.

“And so they actually see someone six to seven times a day, either virtually or in person,” said Ila Mapp, the program’s administrative director at UNC Health.

She says national data shows that patients recover more quickly on the program. “It allows patients to be more comfortable and in more control,” Mapp said.

She adds, “It’s the patients who aren’t quite sick enough to go to the hospital but can go home and still get the acute care they need.”

She says patients who receive home care are also less likely to get other hospital infections like MRSA or even COVID-19.

Underhill quickly accepted the home care offer. He said, “You wear your own clothes, you are in your own bed and only get the medication you need.”

Underhill points out that it’s also cheaper than staying in the hospital. “Releasing a hospital bed saves money, you get better faster. What’s not to like,” he said.

He’s also excited to be back in his own home as well as his wood construction school, sharing his old woodworking talents with eager students.

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San Antonians say psychological well being, housing, and infrastructure amongst finest methods to spend pandemic aid cash

SAN ANTONIO – As the San Antonio City Council decides how to spend the remaining $ 199.4 million in unallocated money from the American Rescue Plan Act, parishioners have made their wishes known.

In a presentation on Thursday to the council members, the city officials presented the results of the various surveys, town hall meetings and meetings with the Small Business Advocacy Commission from the previous months. Housing, infrastructure and economic development were high on the list of immediate spending priorities for community members, while they said mental health, housing and quality childcare were their preferred long-term investments.

The SBAC listed priorities such as access to capital, such as grants or loans; Capacity building through vocational training and financial literacy; and promoting art and tourism.

The city has been allocated $ 326.9 million in ARPA dollars, half of which it has already received. The other half is expected to be received in May 2022.

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The city is allowed to use the money for a variety of purposes, including: balancing budget constraints; pay for the public health response to the pandemic; Payment of bonuses for important employees; and water, sewer and broadband infrastructure works.

The city has already committed $ 97.5 million to fill budget gaps from lost revenue over three fiscal years. Council too Set aside $ 30 million to help people in arrears with their electricity and water bills.

On Thursday, city officials recommended allocating $ 35 million to the city’s COVID-19 response, $ 35.95 million for “immediate” community needs and $ 128.45 million for “effective investment.”

POSSIBLE BONUS FOR CITY WORKERS

City officials suggested two “premium payment” options for city workers, for the several council members had asked.

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Depending on their annual income, the first plan would pay employees a bonus of up to $ 3,000 if they worked on-site in the 12 months between March 2020 and March 2021.

This plan would cost $ 10 million and cover 5,920 eligible employees.

However, City Manager Erik Walsh had employees come up with a second plan that would cover all employees – 11,760 of them – and pay up to $ 2,000, depending on their hire date and annual earnings. This plan would cost $ 14.3 million.

“But from my point of view, I think we should treat everyone equally from the point of view of employees,” said Walsh.

While not all city employees would meet the ARPA guidelines for premium payment, which are intended for those who had to work in person during the pandemic, city employees could justify this by using the “revenue replacement” category.

Some councilors called for a third option that would still cover all 11,760 employees but offer a relatively higher bonus for the 5,920 who had to come to work.

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City officials noted that none of the other major Texas cities had yet chosen to use ARPA money for bonuses.

NEXT STEPS

The city council has yet to approve the overall framework for the use of the money. This is expected to happen in a February 3rd vote after the city council made adjustments based on Thursday’s discussion.

Thereafter, the council members will assist through various sub-committees in deciding which programs to fund the ARPA money.

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

Cleveland looking for to award $2M to financially troubled NEON Well being Providers utilizing pandemic aid cash: Stimulus Watch

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland City Council could pass bill Monday to allocate $ 2 million from the city’s pandemic funds to a nonprofit agency that is providing its CEO with more than $ 500,000 despite pre-pandemic financial difficulties pays.

Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services (NEON) are seeking funding from the American Rescue Plan to strengthen their health services in some of Cleveland’s poorest minority neighborhoods.

Proponents argue that the money could go far in supporting major health programs. but Tax returns from NEON reveal a precarious financial situation – and a CEO who received a $ 100,000 raise in a year the agency was caring for fewer patients and was in the red.

NEON’s plan to spend the $ 2 million American Rescue Plan Act will use the lion’s share – $ 1.4 million – on several new and existing programs, including mental health services, lead prevention and intervention, food distribution, Education about healthy eating, chronic disease control and health literacy. However, this funding pool also includes items such as “NEON Administration” and “NEON Direct Costs – Transportation”, with no US dollar amounts specified for any program.

Another $ 360,000 would work with LegalWorks, Inc. to fund a detox clinic, and $ 200,000 would be used to repair damage to the NEON Hough Health Center, which caught fire in May.

The Hough Center is temporarily closed, and NEON’s other centers are bringing health services to other areas where Clevelander suffer disproportionately from negative health outcomes, including Miles-Broadway, Norwood, St. Clair-Superior, and the Southeast Side.

NEON is a state-qualified health center and, according to IRS filings, brings in primarily cash from contributions – about $ 13 million in 2019 – and program services like Medicaid reimbursements totaling about $ 11 million in 2019. Funding is received through the administration for health resources and services. This agency said cleveland.com that NEON receives funding until the end of the year and has been approved for a 3-year funding from 01/01/2022 to 12/31/2024. The agency spokesman was not yet able to announce the total amount of the funding at the time of going to press.

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, NEON Caring for fewer patients each year, down about a third over the past five years – from 31,804 in 2016 to 21,605 in 2020. From 2017 to 2018 – the year that board member granted CEO Willie Austin a $ 100,000 raise – NEON served 2,740 fewer employees.

Although NEON serves fewer Clevelanders, NEON’s tax returns are in deficit in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 – the last available year when net income was nearly $ 1 million in the red.

In 2020, NEON received more than $ 5 million in pandemic-related funding – a $ 3.6 million forgivable loan from the CARES Paycheck Protection Program and $ 1.6 million in additional Health Center Grants and $ 216,000 in Relief Funds.

Cleveland.com contacted NEON and Austin for this story.

Some of NEON’s financial difficulties are related to a payout of more than $ 1.3 million due to a Unlawful termination lawsuit. In this case, employee James O’Donnell was fired after raising concerns about a financial audit involving the questionable activities of Arthur Fayne, a NEON board member and head of the consulting firm hired to lead the New Eastside Market project, showed that the developer was responsible for the NEON.

In December 2020, Fayne has been charged with embezzling $ 855,000 from the Eastside Market project. The case is pending.

NEON was selected to develop the New Eastside Market in 2015 and rented the property on St. Clair Avenue from the city for $ 1 a year. The city has also deposited over $ 350,000 as well a 75 percent tax reduction for 15 years on improvements to the property, including new plumbing, electrical and roofing. When the project went over budget in 2018, the city approved an additional $ 500,000 grant. Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio also awarded grants of $ 750,000 each.

New Eastside Market opened in 2019 with a vision to operate a full-service grocery store in what is otherwise considered a “food wasteland,” as well as providing health and wellness services. But NEON has yet to deliver on some of his promises for the location, like opening a health clinic or a demonstration kitchen for nutritious cooking classes.

Alderman Basheer Jones, whose ward includes NEON’s Hough Clinic, was the council’s strongest supporter of raising $ 2 million in stimulus funds to NEON. Jones, who has given up his council seat because of an unsuccessful mayoral candidacy, has made the NEON proposal his final legislative proposal.

Speaking at a committee meeting on November 16, Jones said he saw NEON’s latest funding proposal as a step toward holistic health. Jones said when NEON was founded in 1967 it was one of the few health care providers that the city’s black community felt welcome.

“Well, I’m sure there have been a lot of mistakes along the way,” Jones continued. “Unfortunately we live in a country where some make mistakes and others can’t make mistakes… Why can some organizations as a city make mistakes and then get the resources and still be able to make mistakes? Do business and there are some who are excluded? “

The city council is expected to deliberate on the law at its final session of the year on Monday before a new council and mayor take office in January.

Stimulus Watch is a public service journalism project run by cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer to track federal funding reaching Northeast Ohio through the US rescue plan. Read more undercleveland.com/stimulus-watch.

State to allocate $700M to stimulate development, enhance public well being: Right here’s the place the cash goes

Governor Phil Murphy and the legislature agreed on Friday to allocate nearly $ 700 million to stimulate economic growth and improve public health.

The funding will provide $ 435 million from the New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund and $ 262.6 million from the American Rescue Plan’s State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

The proposals were made by the Ministry of Finance to the Joint Budgetary Supervisory Committee for approval, which is expected.

“This proposal will allow us to responsibly finance construction and continue to use federal dollars for one-time, transformative investments in our residents, communities and infrastructure,” said Murphy.

The following are the proposed capital construction projects to be supported by the New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund:

  • New Jersey Windport and Port Infrastructure ($ 345 million): Funding for the wind port and related projects is provided by the Economic Development Authority, the Department of Transportation and the South Jersey Port Corp.
  • Rowan University School of Veterinary Medicine / Cooper Medical School ($ 90 million): Support school.

The following are the 13 proposed projects to be supported by the State Fiscal Recovery Fund of the American Rescue Plan:

  • Hackensack University Medical Center ($ 100 million): Supporting the Hackensack University Hospital, which was certified as a level 1 trauma center in the fall of this year, in its efforts to strengthen the regional infrastructure for emergency health care. HUMC must submit a preparedness improvement plan subject to the conditions listed for the other Level 1 trauma centers.
  • Supply Chain Disruption Funding ($ 40 million): Established a program run by the Department of Community Affairs and the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to fill COVID-induced funding gaps in already underwritten and ongoing projects for affordable housing and community development.
  • Implementation of the Eviction Prevention Program ($ 37.5 million): Targeted support for people who need help most urgently with the application, as well as temporary workers in assessing eligibility and determining and paying out support benefits, in addition to other tasks that are crucial for the success of the program.
  • Greenway Acquisition ($ 25 million): To support the state’s efforts to purchase this transportation corridor in Essex and Hudson counties. These funds will complement funds from the Green Acres State Land Acquisition program.
  • Inspira Health ($ 20 million): Support Inspira Health’s proposed acquisition of Salem Medical Center, which will improve emergency preparedness and pandemic preparedness for this community.
  • Commuter Hub COVID-impacted Redevelopment Program ($ 10 million): Supporting retail and pedestrian activities in urban areas with public transport that have suffered economic damage from the decline in commuting due to the pandemic. This program would split funds between the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the Economic Development Authority for two targeted initiatives.
  • Pennsauken Community Center ($ 10 million): Help build a new community center in Pennsauken Township that will facilitate access to social services and mitigate the impact of the health emergency on education and child welfare.
  • RWJBarnabas Health ($ 5 million): Assisted RWJBH and Rutgers University Behavioral Health with programming related to the increased need for behavioral health due to the pandemic.
  • Wally Choice Community Center ($ 5 million): Support pandemic-related efforts (including education and social services) at this Glenfield Park facility.
  • Corporate Marketing Initiatives ($ 5 million): To help the state expand implementation of a marketing program to highlight the benefits of doing business in New Jersey while the state works to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.
  • Atlantic Health ($ 3 million): To modernize and renovate the emergency room at Morristown Medical Center so the facility is better able to cope with the current pandemic and future infectious disease outbreaks.
  • Alexander Hamilton Visitor and Education Center at the Great Falls of the Passaic River ($ 2 million): Funding of eligible costs for this tourism-related project at the National Historical Park in the city of Paterson.
  • Vernon Parish ($ 100,000): To support community health efforts related to environmental remediation.

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Alumni elevate cash for most cancers, males’s well being with growing-out-mustache marketing campaign

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The facial hair waxing for the month of November is very important to Adam Brodstein. He is a member of Syracuse University’s fundraising team for Movember, an annual campaign to raise awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, as well as mental health and suicide prevention. Growing out a mustache or facial hair is the iconic symbol of the fundraising challenge.

“I almost never have facial hair. I wear a mustache all month and so many of my friends come up to me and ask, ‘Oh, what’s your mustache?’ ”Said Brodstein. “It just gives me one excuse to talk about it.”

Brodstein, a 2018 graduate of SU, joined the university’s Movember fundraising team while studying. However, he is not alone in his efforts. The SU team, Boys Things, has over 100 members, many of whom are SU alumni or current students. Boys Things has been part of Movember for almost a decade, growing in size and money every year. Boys Things is Movembers’ No. 1 University Team in terms of money raised, and the No. 4 team in the United States for 2021 and raised over $ 67,500 by Sunday evening.

“We all realized that (Movembers Mission) really has an impact on all of our lives. And then (Boys Things) really got expanded, ”said Brodstein.

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Movember was founded in Australia in 2003. Originally it was only supposed to raise money for prostate cancer and men’s health. Over the course of nearly two decades, Movember, an abbreviation of the words mustache – or “mo” for short – and November has grown into a global initiative in which teams collect donations 19 countries plus Hong Kong. Individuals, teams or companies can take part in the initiative. Individuals can also donate to the cause through a participating fundraiser or team.

Boys Things has grown under the guidance of 2017 graduate Michael Dellon. He is currently the team’s captain and has been in this role for seven years. Dellon’s journey with Movember began as a philanthropic project within his fraternity. However, his personal commitment to Movember has led him to expand the reach of the fundraiser since he graduated.

“The reason I became captain is because I actually survived cancer twice, so it was something that really got me excited,” said Dellon.

Movember and Boys Things rely on grassroots donations, with members posting on social media and contacting family and friends.
Courtesy Michael Dellon

Dellon contributed to the success of Boys Things fundraising as captain. His goal is to increase member engagement on the team by promoting social media advertising and grassroots fundraising.

“I always move the goalposts a bit,” said Dellon. “We met our goal of ($ 60,000); I’ll probably move that to something that’s achievable but higher. “

This year Dellon and other celebrity Boys Things held a personal fundraiser at The Craic, a Brooklyn bar where the team raised nearly $ 10,000. The personal fundraiser was Boys Things’ biggest event this month, and Dellon hopes to host more of it. He also wants to supply the SU alumni in cities outside of New York City.

“I think it might be cool if we have another event in Boston or LA,” said Dellon. “If we have the team out there that supports it in some way, then we are definitely something to be prepared for.”

The team emphasizes its basic approach to fundraising and relies on the connections maintained through the team’s social network. This method encompasses a variety of fundraising strategies, including reaching out to individual family members and friends and posting graphics on social media.

Noah Garson, a 2018 SU graduate and third highest fundraiser for Boys Things, has been participating in Movember for five years. He has had success at fundraising on Instagram, relying on consistent story posts and reminders from the month-long campaign. He stressed the importance of having a strong reason for fundraising.

“I think I raised about $ 300 in my first year. But since then … I find a different motivation every year. It was the first few years for Michael, ”said Garson. “In 2019 my father was diagnosed with cancer. And that was above all my motivation. “

Within the Page for boys things There is a tracker on the Movember website for the money raised by the team as a whole and the money raised by each member. These features provide an easy way for the team and individual members to track their progress and growth from year to year and continuously break their own records.

Due to the team’s success in the leaderboards this year, Dellon would like to continue recruiting fundraisers at the SU and increase the presence of the fundraising initiative on campus.

“It’s all about not just recruiting more people, but the right people, and getting the word out where we can,” said Dellon. “The greatest thing is simply trying to make the team an extension of Syracuse and leaving it open to anyone who wants to help and make a difference.”

Texas has spent $7B in federal cash to pay short-term well being care staff throughout COVID pandemic

AUSTIN — The state is trying to wind down an expensive, federally paid program of hiring nurses and other health care professionals to keep its hospitals from buckling under staffing pressures and burnout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the plan could be upended by any spike in COVID-19 cases prompted by gatherings over the upcoming holidays. Already, the state decided to keep up surge staffing at hospitals in El Paso and the Panhandle because of recent outbreaks.

After three huge waves of hospitalizations – in each of the past two summers and the big daddy of them all, last December and January – the state has spent nearly $7 billion of federal COVID-19 money for temporary nurses, respiratory therapists and some doctors to maintain operations at hospitals and “alternate care sites.”

The state set up the alternate care sites, mostly at nursing homes and convention centers, to free up hospital beds for coronavirus patients.

The decision to begin ramping down the “medical surge staffing” could be premature. Some public health officials worry that many Texans will mingle indoors and maskless during the upcoming holidays, among them unvaccinated state residents, creating a spike in both seasonal flu and COVID-19 that strains hospitals to capacity.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has told the three vendors who provide the hospitals with temporary caregivers that it plans to stop doing that in most parts of the state over the next month or so, said spokesman Chris Van Deusen.

“Of course, we’re always flexible about that,” he said. “If the situation changes, we’ll change the direction we’re headed.”

Critics of Gov. Greg Abbott’s management of the public health crisis say he’s used hospital staffing support when he should have used a full range of mitigation measures that are far less expensive, such as mask and vaccine mandates.

While the staffing expense is covered 100% by the federal government, the extravagant spending distorted the marketplace for nursing labor, which was already in short supply, said Rep. Donna Howard, an Austin Democrat and retired nurse who has studied the state’s response closely.

‘Burden on the hospitals’

Early in the pandemic, Abbott ordered hospitals to postpone elective surgeries, which choked off vital revenue streams, Howard said. But the Republican governor only hesitatingly embraced a statewide masking and distancing order, which he fully lifted in early March, she noted.

More recently, Abbott has stressed state provision – again, thanks to Uncle Sam – of COVID-19 treatments and infusion centers, where infected patients receive monoclonal antibodies that reduce the severity of symptoms.

“Those are great,” Howard said. “But again, though, rather than trying to do things to prevent it from happening in the first place, the interventions have been after the fact. And it’s really been a burden on the hospitals.”

Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze, noting that nearly 36 million shots have been administered to Texans, said Abbott has launched “innovative strategies” to combat the pandemic. She cited mobile vaccine clinics and a “Save Our Seniors” program he announced in March. Under the program, modeled on one in Corpus Christi given statewide attention by The Dallas Morning News, local first responders and other volunteers take shots to homebound seniors or set up central drive-through vaccine clinics.

“Governor Abbott has prioritized protecting the safety of Texans from COVID while also safeguarding their livelihoods and personal freedom,” Eze said in a written statement.

Abbott continues to work closely with state Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt and Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd “to get shots in arms and provide support to communities across the state,” she said.

“While the vaccine has proven effective at reducing the severity of COVID cases and slowing the spread of COVID, Governor Abbott also recognizes the right of Texans to refuse the shot, especially those who have acquired immunity, have health conditions, or other reasons to not take the shot.”

Many Texans, though, are still resistant to the shot. Only 59% of Texans age 5 or older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Flu prospects

So far this flu season, Texans haven’t been catching influenza at an alarming rate. Of the nearly 39,000 who’ve been tested since early October, just 0.35% tested positive. At the peak of the 2018-2019 flu season, in February 2019, about one quarter of specimens tested positive for flu, noted epidemiologist Diana Cervantes of the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center at Fort Worth.

Still, on Wednesday, the federal Centers for Disease Control issued an alert warning of a recent increase in flu viruses detected in recent weeks, especially among young adults. The federal agency said it “also is aware of influenza outbreaks in colleges and universities in several states.”

Flu seasons in which the particular strain noticed in the recent uptick – A(H3N2) – is predominant “were associated with more hospitalizations and deaths in persons aged 65 years and older,” the alert said.

The CDC urged all Americans six months old and older – if they haven’t already, and many haven’t – to get flu shots.

UNT’s Cervantes explained public health officials’ concern.

“As the COVID vaccine has become available, there are many fewer restrictions and prevention measures directed at COVID prevention such as mask usage, physical distancing this year – so we may likely see a more active flu season compared to last year,” she said.

She continued, “There is a possibility that due to the holidays and increased travel and general contact with others, we could see an increase in COVID cases and flu cases jointly and unfortunately there are always severe cases of both that can require hospitalization leading to dual stresses on our health care system.”

With COVID-19 vaccine widely available and “no new variant of concern” at this point, “I am hopeful we will not see a spike of COVID like we experienced last winter,” Cervantes said.

The surge staffing began in July 2020 with just more than 3,500 visiting health care workers helping Texas hospitals. Peak deployment came after last winter’s surge of cases, with almost 14,000 temporary nurses and other workers used during one week in early February. Last summer, the numbers dwindled. From mid-May to mid-August, no surge staffing was needed.

But then deployments kicked back up with the spike of cases caused by the delta variant. By early October, the department’s three private vendors were supplying nearly 7,800 health care professionals a week. As of Nov. 17, that had dropped to 3,176.

A demobilization ‘pause’

In recent weeks, the department told its three vendors supplying the nurses and other front-line workers – San Antonio-based nonprofit BCFS Health and Human Services, San Antonio-based Angel Staffing Inc. and Columbia, Md.-based Maxim Healthcare Group – that it planned to stop all hospital support in early December.

A flare-up of positive cases in El Paso and the Panhandle has forced the department to keep providing the surge staffing to those two regions, even as it hopes to be able to stop providing nurses and therapists to hospitals in most of the state, said Van Deusen, the state health department spokesman.

“We’ve paused sort of demobilizing staff out in El Paso, for example, because they’ve seen things really start to go up more,” he said. “But yes, that’s been the idea,” to end the program as more Texans are vaccinated and severe cases of the disease taper off.

On Tuesday, the hospital regions where coronavirus patients are taking up the highest percentage of available beds were El Paso (13.3%), Amarillo (11.8%) and Lubbock (9.9%), according to the department’s coronavirus dashboard. Of the four major metros, Dallas had the highest share of its hospital beds devoted to COVID-19 patients – 4.9%. There were 768 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in the Dallas trauma service area’s hospitals. Of them, 94 had been admitted in the previous 24 hours.

From just over a year ago, Dallas has zoomed to account for 28% of the surge staffing statewide, from under 10%. South Texas, which in October 2020 drew 35% of the temporary workers helping Texas hospitals, now is using only 11%. As a share of the statewide deployment, Houston has tapered off (to 21% of the total, from 25% a year earlier), while Austin and Central Texas account for nearly 10% of the statewide staffing help, up from about 1% a year earlier.

President Joe Biden recently said that 100% reimbursement of states’ coronavirus-related response efforts, such as the hospital staffing, would continue through April 1.

Van Deusen said that leaving aside considerations about federal reimbursements, the need for the surge staffing has diminished.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Texas have decreased dramatically from the delta variant-driven spike of confirmed cases in late summer. From nearly 14,000 in late August and early September, hospitalized patients have fallen to under 2,700 as of Tuesday.

“We had started ramping down earlier this month, with the idea that it would take probably four to six weeks to do that,” Van Deusen said.

‘Worth it to them’

Some of the health care workers, such as nurses, have commanded high prices to come work at Texas hospitals.

Howard said at one point, she was told by the state health department that nurses cost the state $100 an hour to $125 an hour. She said she didn’t know if that was the amount being paid to the vendor or the nurses. The online job site Indeed shows the average registered nurse in Texas commanding about $36 an hour, she noted.

Department officials and vendors have declined to discuss wages paid to the temporary hospital workers.

“You had nurses who left their jobs to become traveling nurses because they could make a heck of a lot more money,” said Howard, who said she’s heard from one of her staff members an anecdote about one who gambled on treating COVID-19 patients in order to get a piece of the American dream – a house.

“They knew that it was going to be short term, but it was worth it to them to leave where they were and go wherever they needed to be for the fairly short period of time and bring in an exorbitant salary,” Howard recounted.

“It allowed them to actually get a mortgage. That was out of out of sight for them before. They are now able to buy a house because of this, which is great for them. But the distortion in the market is that those very people who are leaving, now, the hospitals are having to find ways to increase what they pay in order to retain their nurses. They’re doing bonuses, they’re doing premium pay, they’re doing whatever they can do, to try to keep the nurses that they have.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has received Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment to help him fight COVID-19, said Saturday that he is wants to see antibody infusion centers opened across the state.

By far the biggest chunk of the nearly $6.9 billion spent since July 2020 has gone to BCFS – $5.3 billion, or 77%.

The state also processed invoices from Angel for $1.14 billion (17% of the total) and from Maxim, the former Medcall Medical Staffing, for $455 million (6%). Angel and Maxim are privately held, for-profit companies.

As of Nov. 15, BCFS had 1,945 medical personnel working in 235 Texas hospitals, said BCFS spokeswoman Evy Ramos. Except for about 300 respiratory therapists, they were all nurses, she said. None was a physician.

Of the $6.88 billion spent, just under $2.4 million was state funds, according to a spreadsheet of vendor payments obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

“The funds obligated are federal, FEMA and CARES Act dollars,” said state health department spokesman Doug Loveday, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020.

Another $8.7 million of the money went to alternate care sites.

None of the money spent yet has come from the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March, though state lawmakers last month approved spending up to $2 billion of the American Rescue Plan money on hospital surge staffing, COVID therapeutics and infusion centers.

Texas soon will have spent more than $5.1 billion to hire nurses and other frontline health-care workers at premium rates to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and deter the disease at group residential settings such as nursing homes. The effort will eat up nearly two-thirds of the $8.1 billion in federal Coronavirus Relief Fund money the state has received. In February file photo, three nurses at Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital -- one a traveling nurse and two on-staff -- review an intubated COVID-19 patient’s oxygen levels.

Firefighter bikes coast to coast to boost cash for psychological well being providers

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – This one-of-a-kind team, a man, a dog, and his bike, travel 3,700 miles across the country to raise funds and raise awareness about mental health issues.

You will traverse a total of eight states on a route known as the “Southern Tier” that begins in San Diego, California and ends in St. Augustine, Florida.

Kevin Conley Jr. and his dog Rocky made their way to El Paso as they begin the long stretch of the Lone Star State.

The goal was to improve yourself and for a greater purpose.

“My original goal was to get my mind free to clear all the pain and suffering my mind was going through, and I wanted to give back for a bigger cause,” said Conley Jr.

That purpose is to raise money for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a foundation that focuses on helping families of firefighters killed on duty and helping injured firefighters and their families.

Conley Jr. is a wilderness firefighter who has his own struggles, and Rocky loves to help and join.

“He’s always there for me, this is my best friend here,” said Conley Jr.

He says that although his mental health motivated him to start, he wants to get it not about him: “It’s about children who never speak to their father again and women who never speak to their best friend again become … I just want to raise money for the Wildlife Firefighter Foundation so that we can give something back to this world. “

To donate to Kevin’s and Rocky’s fundraiser, click here Donation to Kevin’s and Rocky’s Southern Tier, 3,700 Mile Drive for the Mental Health of Wildland Firefighters – Wildland Firefighter Foundation (givecloud.co)

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With Assist Cash, US Faculties Place Consideration on Psychological Well being

Schools in the United States are using a large increase in federal funding to support student mental health.

School systems or districts are given a lot of freedom in how they can spend the federal money. But psychological problems in the students had become clear. Districts have an increase in behavioral problems, and signs of stress Absenteeism when students returned to class this fall. For many, it was the first time back in a full classroom since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Kansas City, Kansas, educators open an after-school mental health center. The center is filled with advisor and social workers. Schools in Chicago, Illinois have “mentoring teams” on a mission to help students in difficulty.

In some school districts, the money has supported longstanding work to help students deal with trauma – difficult experiences that have led to emotional problems. Other school systems have made new efforts to treat students. Overall, money puts public schools at the center of efforts to improve the overall well-being of students.

When the government sent aid to schools after the economic recession in 2008, conversation didn’t happen, ”said Amanda Fitzgerald. She is with the American School Counselor Association. Now, according to Fitzgerald, the discussion across the country is very much about student welfare.

Last month, three major child health groups said the child mental health situation should be viewed as a national emergency. The U.S. Department of Education has called on the aid to rethink the way schools offer psychological support. Education Minister Miguel Cardona said mental health needs to be at the center of recovery from the pandemic.

Pandemic aid to schools is $ 190 billion. That’s more than four times what the Department of Education normally spends kindergarten up to 12th grade every year. The money for mental health services went towards employee training, mental health assessments, and classes that include social and emotional learning.

Fifth grader Jordan Falconbury reads in a tent while visiting a sensory room at Quincy Elementary School in Topeka, Kansas on Wednesday, November 3, 2021 (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

Many counties have worked on it rent more mental health experts. The National Association of School Psychologists surveyed its members in the fall. It found that more than half of the districts had plans to host social workers, Psychologists or consultant.

With $ 9.5 million in federal and external grants, Paterson Schools in New Jersey added five behavioral experts. The district also hired two substance abuse experts and workers who were able to identify students in crisis.

Paterson is one of the poorest parts of New Jersey. Many of the 25,000 students there were hungry before the pandemic and struggled after family members lost their jobs, Superintendent Eileen Shafer said.

“We wanted to make sure that before we tried to teach anything new, we could handle where our kids are based on what they went through,” she said.

In Ellicottville, New York, school psychologist Joe Prior sees more anxiety among students. He said the district would use the help to hire a counselor to connect students with psychological help.

Chicago, the third largest school district in the country, created a “cure plan” for students using $ 24 million of the $ 2.6 billion in federal aid.

In Detroit, the district spends $ 34 million on mental health programs. The school system uses the money to screen students, expand help from outside mental health providers, and provide additional support to parents.

On a last Wednesday that meant an hour meditation Parents meet at a local cafe. One parent feared that their own stress was affecting their son’s ability to learn.

“As a community, we’ve all been through something,” said Sharlonda Buckman, an assistant superintendent who attended the meeting. “Part of the recovery has to be something” intentionally work in spaces like this so we can be there for ours children. “

I am Dan Novak.

The Associated Press and Chalkbeat covered this story. Dan Novak adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Quiz – U.S. schools use aid funds to monitor mental health


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Words in this story

absent – adj. not present in a usual or expected place

advisor – n. a person who provides professional advice

conversation – n. an informal conversation with two people or a small group of people: the act of informal conversation

kindergarten – n. a school or class for very young children

rent – v. Giving (someone) a job or a job in exchange for wages or salaries

psychologist – n. a scientist who specializes in the study and treatment of mind and behavior

anxiety – n. Fear or nervousness about what might happen

meditation– n. the act or process of spending time in silent thought

intentionally – adj. be done in a planned or intended manner

child – n. a young person