Governor Walz on Wednesday announced a second skilled-nursing facility, Good Samaritan Society – Bethany in Brainerd, would act an alternative care site as part of his action plan to relive Minnesota hospitals that have become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
The governor’s move comes after the state facilitated the first alternative care site last week when Benedictine St. Gertrude’s in Shakopee made 30 beds available for patients. That facility received support from the Minnesota National Guard and state-funded staff through the COVID-19 Emergency Staffing Pool.
The governor’s office said the Brainerd facility will also receive an additional emergency staffing team of 14 Minnesota National Guard members and nine federal nurses to treat patients. The site will help relieve hospital capacity in central and northern Minnesota by accepting up to 34 patients from area hospitals.
Patients eligible for transfer include those who no longer require acute emergency care but are not well enough to go home, such as those who are recovering from surgery.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the state of Minnesota and our hospital partners to navigate capacity challenges in order to meet the needs of patients who are in need of care,” said Nate Schema, vice president of operations at the Good Samaritan Society in a statement. “The available capacity at Good Samaritan Society – Bethany in Brainerd allows us to serve more people in need of post-acute care and services and will provide our hospital partners with additional flexibility as they continue to serve the community. I remain deeply grateful to our staff who continue to go above and beyond to take care of those who need them the most.”
Governor Walz’s office said it has received proposals from multiple nursing facilities around the state willing to receive patients from hospitals. The Minnesota Department of Health and DHS are working to determine facilities best suited to expand the program.
“As Minnesota doctors and nurses care for more COVID-19 patients, we’re calling in reinforcements,” said Governor Walz. “Our new alternative care sites will treat Minnesotans on the road to recovery so our hospitals can focus on providing care for our most critical patients, including those sick with COVID-19. We’re forging a coalition to assist our hospitals. By working with our partners at long-term care facilities, the federal government, and the National Guard, we’re helping make sure we have the capacity to care for those who need it.”