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Indiana renews push for retired health care workers’ help in fight against COVID-19

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Health care workers are stressed. Emotions are running high. They are working long days and long hours. Now, there’s a renewed push to help.

Hoosiers are dying from the coronavirus every day.

Our health care workers are giving it their all on the frontlines. Day in, day out, fighting the virus, working to save Hoosiers’ lives.

“They are just exhausted. This pandemic has been going on since March, as you know,” Brian Tabor, president of the Indiana Hospital Association explained. “They have been under tremendous strain.”

For the last 10 days, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals has risen, according to state data.

Indiana has renewed a call for more retired health care workers to come off the bench and get in the COVID trenches in our hospitals and long-term care facilities.

“Many hospitals are holding their own. But just barely. With the numbers that we’re seeing, right around the corner, it would be tremendously helpful if those that are a nurse, a physician that’s not practicing now, could reach out. Join that healthcare reserve workforce list, and I’m sure they would have a facility calling them very soon, to help out, Tabor said.

“Hoosiers need your help right now. Our hospitals, our long-term care facilities are doing everything they can to protect patients. We have the PPE. We have better tools. Better clinical guidance in terms of how we treat COVID. So, it is safe for you to come back and enter the workforce. We may be just weeks away from being able to distribute a vaccine to healthcare workers.”

Dr. Christopher Doehring with Franciscan Health says their health care worker staffing is OK for now, but that could change.

“We have not needed to tap into those resources at this point. I can tell you that Franciscan and the other health systems in central Indiana and around the state are getting to a pretty tight manpower situation. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if sooner, rather than later, we need to avail ourselves of those resources. I absolutely think it’s the right thing to do, to extend that opportunity for recently retired healthcare workers,” Doehring, the vice president of Medical Affairs at Franciscan Health – Central Indiana, said.

Indiana’s Health Department has a COVID call center open for your questions. Call 877-826-0011 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for general public, Monday through Friday for health care providers).