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ARPA funds will be used to retain nurses and other staff at DHSS 24/7 facilities


Federal funds will be diverted to vulnerable Delawareans and DHSS health care professionals at 24/7 facilities.

Almost $17 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds will be used for Delawareans impacted by COVID, DHSS workers at 24/7 facilities, the expansion of COVID vaccinations and testing, and to provide housing assistance for vulnerable Delawareans.

$6.7 million of those funds will go towards quarterly retention payments to registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and other direct-care staff at 24/7 DHSS facilities.

DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik says the retention payments are in response to the shortage of healthcare workers in Delaware and nationwide.

"They will get a payment each quarter during this calendar year and they had to be on staff by a certain time and getting super technical and paid status and then we signed agreements with any of the employees that were covered by unions and had collective bargaining agreements we had to sign and have an effective date for those agreements," said Magarik.

Magarik notes if they meet that criteria and are working in their facilities DHSS wants to incentivize them to keep working to provide care in the facilities.

DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik says retaining healthcare workers is important.

"These retention payments were used to make sure that we could retain and hold on to the necessary staff,” said Magarik. Again to keep providing the exceptional level of care that our team has for both patients of the psychiatric center and residents at Stockley and Hospital for the Chronically Ill."

$6 million will be used for housing assistance to begin the transition from emergency housing to permanent housing, $1.5 million for COVID testing in child care centers, and $1.5 million for housing for vulnerable pregnant women.

$1.1 million will pay for a Homebound COVID vaccine hotline.

$194,000 will provide emergency supplies for families enrolled in home visiting programs - with Division of Public Health contractors providing face masks, hand sanitizer, no-touch thermometers, diapers, infant formula, food, and water.