ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County is making investments to provide critical funding to help support nursing homes, and to address a continued backlog of patients seen in area hospital systems.

The county is getting ready to distribute $5 million in grant funds to help alleviate overcrowding, coming from the American Rescue Plan Act, to provide incentives for nursing home facilities to take patients who no longer need to be hospitalized but still require that type of care.

Earlier this week, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello signed a contract with the Finger Lakes Performing Provider System that would help relieve the backlog seen in hospitals for patients in need of nursing home care.

Our hope is we put enough funding in there to be able to help several hundred patients be able to come out of the hospital system and into a nursing home,” said Bello.

Bello says the money is designed with input from area nursing homes and hospital systems to help pay staff and help the system run smoothly.

The program has been running in the Syracuse area for years. 

“We are in a particular challenge right now in the hospitals because of all the different factors: COVID, flu, all the different ailments getting people into the hospital. The beds are really at a premium right now. Whatever we can do to help I think is worthwhile,” said Bello.

Bello also says Monroe Community Hospital has improved in opening more beds to patients, but says staffing strains continue.

“Staffing challenges are the biggest impediment. Monroe Community Hospital is not that different than any other nursing home in the area. We have beds, we just don’t have a lot of staff. That’s a challenge affecting nursing homes all over,” said Bello.

The county executive has also made a proposal to the county legislature to help fund workforce development programs, to cover the cost for those qualified to receive training to enter the healthcare field. Bello says the proposal is awaiting legislators’ approval.