NewsLocal News


Green Bay nursing facility to bring in 10 National Guard members, free up space at Bellin Hospital

Posted at 10:09 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 23:44:57-05

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — More than 20 members of the U.S. military are serving in Northeast Wisconsin as healthcare workers.


"We've seen time and time again that the Wisconsin National Guard is indispensable," Governor Tony Evers said during a Thursday DHS media briefing.

On Monday, ten of those Guard members are headed to Green Bay to train as certified nursing assistants or CNAs. The goal is to free up bed space at Bellin Hospital. That's accomplished by moving some patients.

"We will be able to transfer patients that are at our hospital that don't need hospital-level care anymore, that really need skilled-nursing home care," Bellin Health Team Leader of Post-Acute Care Cassie Stremer said.

After weeks of training at Bellin, the hospital system says those patients and the National Guard troops will move to a nearby skilled-nursing facility that has an unused 20-bed wing.

"This assistance is allowing us to work in partnership with Odd Fellow Home to open up a unit that has been closed due to staffing," Stremer said.

Virus Outbreak Busing National Guard
FILE — Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

The Guard will work at Odd Fellow Home until mid-march. And the new staff will be supervised by registered nurses.

"We want to cross-train them so that if there comes a time where we don't need the assistance as much at the Odd Fellow Home, then we can use them at the hospital," Stremer said.

The fresh set of CNAs are poised to help with non-Covid care and the daily needs of Odd Fellow residents.

"Our CNAs have a different type of a job than the CNAs in a hospital," Odd Fellow Home CEO Charlene Everett said. "So they will continue to train here for a brief period of time."

This move comes as Evers announced 50 National Guard troops were deployed to six nursing homes across the state this week.

"We haven't had the staff and now with the help of the National Guard and the hospital systems, we're ready to go," Everett said.

According to Evers, the initiative is projected to open up 200 or more beds at nursing facilities.

"I'm a patriot to the core," Everett said. "The fact that our nation's finest are going to come in and help us put an end to Green Bay's nightmare, I'm so proud to be a part of it."

Evers says 80 more National Guard members will deploy throughout Wisconsin at the end of January.