News from around our 50 states

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Alabama

Montgomery: Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday reallocated $12.3 million of the state’s coronavirus relief funds to hire travel nurses to help hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. The Republican governor announced the move as the state continues to see a surge in virus cases, straining hospital resources and staff. “I’m pleased to see more folks getting vaccinated, but we are still in the thick of COVID-19 and our hospitals are overwhelmed,” Ivey said in a statement. “The money is coming from the state’s share of CARES Act funds. Until our vaccination rates rise and our COVID-19 hospitalization rates fall, we will need the extra support these nurses provide.” The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a nurse staffing crisis, sending U.S. hospitals into a competition for travel nurses and staff to handle the crush of patients this summer. Hospitals need more staff to handle the patient loads, while some nurses have left because they are exhausted, taken lucrative travel jobs or are out sick because they themselves are sick with COVID-19. Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery, like hospitals across the country, has turned to travel staff to fill positions. “It’s a national arms race for clinical talent,” CEO Peter Selman, said. He said the hospital is paying up to $155 an hour to national staffing firms.

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