MISSOULA — “They are very beneficial and we're very grateful,” said Providence St. Patrick Hospital Chief Executive Joyce Dombrouski about the Montana National Guard.
Gov. Greg Gianforte approved the deployment of the Montana National Guard to aid the healthcare system throughout the state in mid-September.
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About 20 Guard members have been here since, aiding Missoula’s overworked and understaffed healthcare systems.
One of the places that members of the Guard are stationed is at St. Patrick Hospital where they are helping with non-patient tasks, such as transportation, delivering meals, cleaning, paperwork, among other tasks that are needed so healthcare workers can focus on their patients.
“We are faced with labor shortages like every other industry in the country, right, and so that's that has really been a challenge for us in the midst of this increased volume of patients we're taking care of,” said Dombrouski.
The process to get the Guard members here to Missoula is a multi-step one until the request ends up on the governor's desk.
“Our point of communication is to state Disaster and Emergency Services, then they push it to the governor's office to grant that request or review that request,” said Missoula County Office of Emergency Management Deputy DES Coordinator, Nick Holloway.
Holloway says that as the first deployment is about halfway through their 14 days duty, they have made a request for another 14-day deployment of the Guard members, but that has not been approved yet.
“That gives the staff at the hospital and other locations where they're at. The ability to fill in other gaps” said Holloway.
“I mean, to me they reflect a level of support that was absolutely necessary when we made the request and continues to be,” Dombrowski told MTN News.
ICU beds are full and the hospital is overwhelmed.
Healthcare workers have said that they are so thankful for the support, help, and positive attitudes that the Montana National Guard members have brought with them.