Costa Efforts Bring Critical Help to Local Hospitals

Sep 29, 2021
Press Release

FRESNO – In his continued efforts to address the critical shortage of healthcare providers and reduced hospital capacity in the San Joaquin Valley due to the COVID-19 health crisis, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) formally requested and received help from state and federal officials to bring more than 200 medical professionals to Fresno and Madera hospitals.

“The recent surge of critical COVID-19 patients has our healthcare system operating in crisis mode,” said Rep. Costa. “I promised to do everything I can to help our communities fight this battle and I will not stop. I want to thank the Newsom and Biden administrations for their quick action. This additional staff will help in the short term, but our hospitals cannot sustain the proper level of care for those who need it until everyone in the community does their part – get vaccinated!”

Valley hospitals are operating beyond capacity – some at more than 130% - and must often send patients to other locations to receive medical care. On a recent call with Fresno County health officials, Rep. Costa learned firsthand about their critical need for assistance and took immediate action. After reaching out to Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Secretary for Health and Human Services, FEMA, and HHS, 160 extra nurses were sent and are hard at work.

“Community Medical Centers is very appreciative of the recent assistance we have received from Congressman Jim Costa. Upon hearing of our staffing challenges during this record COVID-19 surge, he acted immediately to locate personnel resources.  He contacted California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly and his staff. This week, ‘critical help’ arrived including a National Guard strike team to assist and relieve our hardworking staff.

“I can’t thank Congressman Costa enough for his immediate efforts. He acted quickly – personally reaching out to access and coordinate resources at the county, state and federal levels to support our staff and physicians. His graciousness and gratitude for our caregivers’ hard work is reflected in his support of all our healthcare heroes.”Thomas Utect, M.D., Senior VP, System Chief Medical Officer at Community Health System.

“We are so grateful for Congressman Costa’s continuous support of our mission to protect and improve the lives of our county residents. During this extremely challenging phase of the pandemic, we have been able to rely on his tireless advocacy efforts which are now brining results into our clinical facilities.” - Dr. Rais Vohra, Interim Fresno County Public Health Director.

Health care officials say a majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Fresno County are unvaccinated. Research shows that those who have received a full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are much less likely to become sick, critically ill, or require hospitalization from the virus. California residents wanting a COVID-19 vaccine can go here for more information.