The plan for justice at the 11th hour: the governor must also focus on the current crisis | Opinion
At first glance, it’s easy to appreciate, if not applaud, Gov. Jim Justice’s intention for his eleventh-hour plan to allocate $ 48 million in unspent federal pandemic aid to a health care program. training for new nurses. This would appear to be aimed at remedying our state’s dismal public health network, which during this pandemic has been overwhelmed and understaffed, exposed for its glaring weaknesses. The governor’s initiative would produce some 2,000 nurses over the next four years, according to the Justice Administration, and – here in our neck of the woods – would open a program at Concord University while expanding the programs at BridgeValley Community. and Technical College.
All of this is necessary and useful. It’s a long game, a smart game that addresses one of the many health care gaps this state has yet to address.
But for now, the governor’s plan – announced just days before the money was intended for skilled use or returned to the federal government – sorely lacks any kind of immediate relief to combat burnout. , unyielding stress and physical, emotional and mental exhaustion in the ranks of nurses. While many nurses and other health care professionals have left the profession altogether over the past two years, there are pillars who have stayed the course, dedicated to the cause of treating the sick. It is high time the governor addressed their concerns. With those unspent federal funds, he could have done just that, making their lives more manageable and less stressful.
But, in a hurry to spend those federal dollars, he dropped the ball. It didn’t have to be that way.
Our governor is indeed trying to pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat, under the pressure of a deadline which is fast approaching. The state received the money – $ 1.25 billion of which $ 129 million was not spent very recently – in April 2020. And it is only now, 20 months later, let the Governor of Justice begin to share his plan on how he will spend the rest.
Today we are on the cusp of a new wave of COVID-19, a peak predicted by most estimates that could potentially exceed the capacity of hospitals across the country. We’re at the forefront of what could be another long winter of administering testing and fighting epidemics, inserting vaccines into guns while bringing down any other health crisis we face – like, say, a significant increase in drug overdose deaths, which, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is exactly what happened in the first year of the pandemic.
And on the front line, see wave after wave of infected and often maskless and unvaccinated patients entering the emergency services, begging for relief from their Covid symptoms? Our nurses and emergency service personnel are there to do this without prejudice, keeping their concerns secondary.
It’s not like the governor was hunched over during the pandemic. It’s just that the funds the governor spent, the programs he supported, had little to do with improving public health outcomes. The unemployment trust fund was overburdened, road repairs were made, and several rounds of an unsuccessful vaccination lottery – featuring the Governor’s English Bulldog, Babydog – literally spent millions with no public benefit.
The state’s 51.1 percent full vaccination rate – more than 10 percentage points lower than the national average – is a telling indicator of the governor’s effectiveness during the pandemic.
It’s hard to believe we could find ourselves in this predicament, coming two years after the virus raised its ugly head here in Mountain State – and almost two years after receiving a large check from the federal government.
– The Register-Herald, Beckley
CNHI News W.Va.