FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky lawmakers could be called for another special session soon. This time, it would be aimed at quelling the state's health care worker shortage.
What You Need To Know
- Kentucky lawmakers could be called for another special session soon
- Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer said Gov. Andy Beshear could call lawmakers back to Frankfort to address the state's health care worker shortage
- The session would likely last just one day, Thayer said
- Kentucky National Guard members have been sent to hospitals around the state to help staff handle the COVID-19 surge
Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Grant) said this weekend that Gov. Andy Beshear (D) could call lawmakers back to Frankfort soon to address staff shortages at nursing homes and hospitals. The session would be limited in scope, likely lasting just one day.
Spoke with Senate Majority Floor Leader @damon_thayer today and he says Gov. Beshear could call lawmakers back for a one day special session soon to address staff shortages at hospitals and nursing homes. One plan would give them $81 million in federal relief funds to address it. pic.twitter.com/RwabpqDeL5— Joe Ragusa (@JoeRagusa) September 17, 2021
Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) made similar comments this weekend. Thayer said one plan would give the state $81 million in federal funding to attract and retain health care workers.
Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Kentucky National Guard members have been sent to hospitals around the Commonwealth to help hospital staff handle surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The over 300 Guard members are assisting 21 hospitals with nonclinical functions to free up staff to focus on patient care, Beshear said last week.
“This shows that every hospital is bursting at the seams, that they desperately need help and that we are a state full of more desperately sick people than we have ever seen,” Beshear said. “I believe this is the largest deployment of the Guard in this crisis health care situation in our history."
In a one-week special session called earlier this month, lawmakers honed in on mask rules in Kentucky. The Republican supermajority voted to scrap all statewide mask mandates, including one passed by the Kentucky Board of Education. After the special session, 96% of Kentucky school districts voted to keep their mask rules.
According to the latest data from the Kentucky Department for Public Health, 2,426 Kentuckians are hospitalized with COVID-19. Eight of the state's 10 hospital regions are seeing ICU capacity above 90%.