SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Most people think of Loretto Health and Rehabilitation as a nursing home, but its leadership prides itself on how its medical professionals helped save lives across the region during coronavirus surges.

Loretto became a medical facility where hospitals could decant stable patients who needed COVID-19 treatment, allowing its beds to stay open for the sickest people.

Over the winter, National Guard troops assigned to Loretto helped care for even more patients.

Unlike many facilities that welcomed the National Guard, Loretto did not want to assign the troops to desk jobs or for supply deliveries. Instead, it worked with New York State to fast-track troops with EMT credentials to become certified nursing assistants.

Loretto President and CEO Kimbery Townsend tells NewsChannel 9: “We were called by various organizations across New York State, many of them downstate, to help their facilities integrate the National Guard troops in their workflow. People were really struggling with it, and we weren’t, so we knew we had something we had to document and something valuable for the future.”

Townsend hopes Loretto’s model of using National Guard troops and helping offset overloaded hospitals is a surge strategy that can be used across the nation.

She’s developed a case study that she hopes gets the attention of state and federal governments to share with other regions needed hospital capacity during an emergency.