COVID-19: Staffing Resources
As Wisconsin’s COVID-19 cases are stabilizing, DHS will no longer be accepting new staffing requests through the DHS Agency Staffing Resource Assistance Service after Friday, February 18. This service was created in October 2021 as a temporary strategy to assist acute care, skilled nursing, long-term care, and assisted living facilities in mitigating staffing challenges during the surge in COVID-19 cases. Through this service, DHS offered facilities supplemental temporary staffing via privately contracted staffing agencies.
DHS will continue to work with facilities that already have a staffing contract in place with DHS to recruit temporary staff. DHS has worked with more than 100 facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities to place more than 900 temporary staff.
Frequently asked questions
Staffing contracts between facilities and DHS will continue without change. DHS will continue to work with facilities that already have a staffing contract in place with DHS to recruit temporary staff.
It varies. The time from when DHS receives a complete facility request to the time that temporary staff obtained through the program start working on site is averaging approximately four to six weeks. We understand that needs are urgent. However, workforce shortages continue to impact agencies’ staff pools as well. Staffing time may also depend on other factors, such as location or level of need. Nevertheless, our intention is to try to facilitate support in as timely a fashion as possible within the current constraints caused by the pandemic.
Within five to ten business days of receiving your facility’s request materials, the DHS Health Staffing Team will match you with an appropriate temporary staffing agency. That staffing agency will contact your facility directly within two weeks to discuss specific staffing needs. The contracting process can take up to three weeks. Once the contracting process is complete, temporary staff can begin working as soon as arrangements are made among the staffing agency, the staff person, and the requesting facility.
The DHS Agency Staffing Resource Assistance Service is not a staffing service that can work within emergent time frames. We understand that facilities throughout Wisconsin urgently need staffing assistance as bed counts surge and the workforce is seeing shortages. However, the processes required to obtain staff through this service do not allow for filling immediate staffing needs.
The purpose of the Agency Staffing Resource Assistance Service and the business model of the contracted staffing agencies is to provide temporary staffing to health care facilities. This service is unable to provide permanent staff.
The DHS Health Staffing Team is happy to provide an update on the status of your request at any time in the process, as well as address any of your questions or concerns. If it has been at least three weeks since your facility submitted a staffing request and you haven’t yet heard from a staffing agency, please send the team an email.
No, the DHS Agency Staffing Resource Assistance Service does not replace the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR). The DHS Agency Staffing Resource Assistance Service uses contracted private staffing agencies, while WEAVR uses volunteer health care workers throughout Wisconsin. This service serves as an additional resource to support facilities that have been unable to obtain staff through other means, including WEAVR.
EMResource is used to track critical infrastructure resources on a local, regional, and statewide level. Integrating skilled nursing facilities into this system builds on lessons the state has learned during the pandemic and improves situational awareness for Wisconsin’s health care partners. By updating bed availability daily, and in real time, it allows hospital discharge planners to expedite transition of care and find the right place for patients at the right time. Under regular circumstances, the choice to report data is voluntary for skilled nursing facilities. However, if you would like to make a request through the DHS Agency Staffing Resource Assistance Service, it is a condition of participation.
If your facility did not complete and submit all of the initial request materials to the DHS Health Staffing Team, a contracted staffing agency working with DHS will not reach out to you. If your facility receives a message from someone claiming to be contracted with Wisconsin DHS and you have not requested to participate in the service, please email the DHS Health Staffing Team immediately so that we can look into it. We encourage you to be cautious in dealing with any such agency.
In order to maximize the number of facilities that are able to find staffing relief, DHS is unable to retroactively reimburse facilities who contracted with staffing agencies on their own. The funding for this service is intended to assist facilities that have been unable to obtain staff through their own efforts.
All certified nursing assistants (CNA) licensed in a state other than Wisconsin will need to be approved by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Quality Assurance and included on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry. Please follow the steps on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry – Out of State Application form closely, and reference the Nurse Aide Training and Registry and the COVID 19: Nurse Aide webpage for more information. Please direct any questions or concerns related to CNA licensing to the Wisconsin Nurse Aid Training and Registry Team.
The following facility types are eligible to make requests through the Agency Staffing Resource Assistance Service:
- Acute care facilities
- Skilled nursing facilities*
- Inpatient rehabilitation facilities
- Assisted living facilities (community-based residential facilities and residential care apartment complexes)
- DHS treatment centers
*In order to be eligible for staffing assistance, skilled nursing facilities must submit daily bed availability information using EMResource.
- Eligible facilities will submit an initial interest request to the DHS Health Staffing Team to receive the request materials, including the Facility Eligibility for Services Questionnaire, F-02867. Note: when completing the materials, please be as specific as possible in documenting what the facility has done to mitigate staffing shortages to date.
- After receiving all of the request materials, the DHS Health Staffing Team will match the requesting facility with an appropriate temporary staffing agency.
- The temporary staffing agency will contact the requesting facility directly to discuss the facility’s specific staffing needs.
- The requesting facility will sign two forms using DocuSign: an agreement outlining the participation requirements, as well as a work order reflecting the facility’s specific staffing needs.