Texas Is No Longer Providing Funding For Emergency COVID-19 Staff

NBC 5 News

Editor's note: We originally reported that Dallas and Tarrant County received $512 billion and $408 billion, respectively from federal COVID-19 relief funding when it should have been $512 million and $408 million. We have updated the story and we regret the error.

The state of Texas is no longer providing funding for temporary emergency hospital staff in the latest COVID-19 surge in Texas.

Instead, the Department of State Health Services is telling local and city governments to pay for the additional hospital staff from their federal COVID-19 relief funding.

Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council President Stephen Love said in previous surges, the state's assistance for supplemental staffing was "greatly appreciated and very helpful."

But the assistance for the temporary staffing is not coming in the latest COVID-19 surge in hospitalizations.

Dallas County confirmed it received a letter urging local governments to try to get hospitals additional federal funding instead.

"Our current volume increase in COVID-19 patients requires supplemental staffing as it worked so well previously, we hope they will reconsider to assist hospitals as the local municipalities using federal funding might be a somewhat confusing process," Love said.

According to state documents, Dallas County and Tarrant County received $512 million and $408 million, respectively, from federal COVID-19 relief funding. Cities and counties in Texas received a total of $9.04 billion.

According to a letter sent from the Texas Division of Emergency Management to Dallas County, of the $9.04 billion in funding, $5.7 billion was sent to Texas counties and $3.4 billion was sent to Texas cities.

Part of that funding was intended for hospital funding assistance, including premium pay for essential workers and to fund COVID-19 mitigation efforts and "certain public health and safety staff."

Local leaders handling those funds have already accounted for most of the money and did not expect the state to withhold funding for additional emergency COVID-19 staff.

For instance, Dallas County's current plan for using its $512 billion does not include funding for additional hospital staff but does include funding for rental assistance and other programs.

According to a July 23 CDC report, 96 out of 467 hospitals in Texas are reporting a staff shortage.

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