FEMA expected to send help to Arizona hospitals, per Senator Sinema

Posted at 7:45 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 21:45:28-05

PHOENIX — Arizona hospitals could receive help from FEMA by the end of the year. That’s the word from Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s office. So far, the state hasn’t heard directly from the agency.

The Department of Health Services made a request Wednesday to FEMA. DHS asked for 133 staff members to be assigned to seven hospitals across the state. Those hospitals are operating at full capacity with little sign of relief.

The state is also getting involved. Governor Ducey authorized $35.2 million to help hospitals with staffing and provide more bed space as well as extra dialysis chairs.

“I’m confident our policies will meet this moment and we’ll provide hospitals with the resources so they can care for the sick,” Governor Ducey said.

This week Banner Health, the state’s largest hospital network sounded the alarm. The unprecedented number of sick patients combined with staffing and bed shortages is threatening its ability to provide healthcare. Other providers followed with their own warnings.

The governor was hoping for FEMA to respond immediately. But, that is not happening. “They do not respond to governors. They don’t acknowledge governors. They look at governors as lower-middle-managers in their federal corporation and they’re failing at their job,” the governor said.

The governor said the state is prepared to provide hospitals with more resources if needed. But he has no intentions of requiring people to get vaccinated. In fact, he went even a step further signing an executive order prohibiting local governments from issuing vaccine mandates. The order also allows local and county workers to use sick leave if they are exposed to COVID-19.