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Dartmouth-Hitchcock working on staff shortage solutions

September 2, 2021 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Dartmouth-Hitchcock says just like other health care providers, it too, is experiencing staff shortages during the coronavirus pandemic that range from nursing positions to food service workers.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock said Wednesday it organized a “Managing and Staffing to Capacity” task force to identify solutions to the shortage, especially in the inpatient units and other care areas at its flagship hospital in Lebanon.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock also began planning for reallocation of resources and staff. Earlier this year, it increased the starting rate for newly licensed nurses to $30 per hour, and made wage adjustments for experienced clinical nurses and nurse supervisors. It plans to provide a 2% wage increase for other staff beginning in October.

Joni Menard, task force leader, said “the overall situation continues to be challenging as clinical demand increases and the supply of traveling staff is depleted across the nation.”

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In other coronavirus news:

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MENTAL HEALTH-TRAINING

The National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire will receive nearly $125,000 to train law enforcement and first responders to more effectively respond to people in a mental health crisis.

The training is also intended to promote mental wellness for law enforcement and first responders in response to increased rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.

The alliance “looks forward to partnering with the NH Department of Safety, NH Police Standards and Training and municipal police and fire departments in accomplishing the goals of the grant,” Executive Ken Norton said in a statement Thursday.

The state’s congressional delegation announced the grant, saying how the coronavirus pandemic has shown the need to strengthen mental health services. The grant is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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THE NUMBERS

More than 108,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 348 new confirmed cases announced Thursday. One new death was announced, bringing the total to 1,421.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 234 new cases per day on Aug. 17 to 305 new cases per day on Tuesday.