When a disaster strikes in Missouri, the state’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team springs into action when seconds count. The specialized team, known as MO DMAT-1, has been around for many years to serve the public when any community is ripped apart by a natural disaster. According to Planning Section Chief Larry Woods, Missouri is one of the only states in the nation with a statewide team providing such aid during the community’s most dire time.
Team members include advanced clinicians (nurse practitioners/physician assistants), medical officers, registered nurses, certified nurse aides, pharmacists, logistical specialists and administrative specialists.
Since the spring, MO DMAT-1 has been working to help the state get a handle on a different type of disaster – COVID-19. Caty Luebbert with the State Emergency Management Agency says Missouri has hired about 200 team members since the early days of the pandemic. The team currently includes more than 350 members.
Luebbert says the team has completed more than 170 COVID-19 related missions so far.
“Most of that has been assisting with testing efforts or supporting staffing for local communities, whether that be at hospitals, healthcare providers or other long-term care facilities,” she says. “Some of the other stuff that they’ve been involved in has been like medical screenings. So, they’ve been at some of the state facilities providing temperature checks. They’ve also done some delivery of essential personal protective equipment.”
Members are also delivering remdesivir, an experimental COVID-19 drug said to reduce recovery time for seriously ill coronavirus patients in a hospital. Some workers are helping in five of Missouri’s Veterans Homes. The long-term care centers have had at least 71 veterans die from COVID-19 since September 1.
Luebbert says local communities request help from the state and then Missouri can move in to respond to certain needs.
“They’ve been critical to supporting our local communities during the pandemic and to adjust and adapt for missions, especially on a moment’s notice, has really helped these local facilities be able to provide care to their patients,” says Luebbert. “Many of the facilities that they have provided support for staffing or testing have truly expressed their appreciation over the course of COVID-19. That’s why it’s so important for us to continue recruiting team members because we plan to continue providing these critical services for the foreseeable future.”
The state continues to hire for DMAT positions. Click here for more information.
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