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Chief Medical Officers meet to show approval of Gov. Kelly’s temporary Emergency Declaration

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 3:42 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Chief Medical Officers from state hospitals gathered virtually to show appreciation for Governor Laura Kelly’s 15-day Emergency Declaration with staffing shortages and staff members burnt out across Kansas.

Stormont Vail CMO Dr. Kevin Dishman said on the call, “Deepest appreciation to the governor for the order. I’m gonna agree wholeheartedly with my colleagues that that’s gonna allow us to bring more resources to bear.”

The order allows physicians assistants, APRNs, RNs, LPNs to do additional duties that might otherwise require supervision. It allows students enrolled in health care programs to volunteer or work as much as their education allows. Nursing homes also get more flexibility in hiring, among other changes to help the hospital staff.

Several said Kelly’s steps should not be considered political, but medically necessary.

Some slammed Missouri leaders for declaring victory over the virus.

“The idea that we won, like in Missouri you’ve got 55% of the population vaccinated, I mean that’s just not right, that’s not true,” said Dr. Steve Stites, Chief Medical Officer for The University of Kansas Health System. “I think what we have to do is just be honest about this and quit trying to cover it up with political aphorisms.”

They expressed hope that other state leaders are listening and willing to take action, including legislators extending the emergency declaration through the end of March.

Dr. Samer Antonios, Chief Clinical Officer for Ascension Via Christi Health said, “What I would advocate for is a need for more long-term solutions. As what was mentioned a few days ago, our workforce is tired. There’s a high degree of burnout and we need to start thinking about how in the next few months and few years we continue support of our workforce so we continue to be resilient.”

Stites and others reiterated getting fully vaccinated, as well as the booster dose if eligible, and wearing a mask will help keep everyone safe.

“I know there’s this political rhetoric around masking but can we just drop it for a minute, just admit the masking works. Can we just say masking clearly works and the way to make sure that things do stay open and we don’t shut down the economy, we don’t shut down the schools, is to put masks back on,” said Stites.

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