New York prepares for possible staff shortages as health care COVID vaccine mandate nears

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Governor Kathy Hochul said Saturday she is ready to name in medically educated National Guard members, retirees and employees exterior New York to deal with potential staffing shortages attributable to an approaching COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care employees.

If mandatory, Hochul mentioned, she’s going to declare a state of emergency via an govt order designed to deal with staffing shortages in hospitals and nursing properties as soon as the mandate takes impact Monday.

Many health care employees have nonetheless not but obtained a required first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine days earlier than the deadline, leaving the prospect of doubtless 1000’s of health care employees being compelled off the job subsequent week.

The order would permit health care professionals who’re licensed in different states or international locations, are latest graduates, or are previously working towards health care professionals to apply in New York, Hochul mentioned, noting she is exploring methods to expedite visa requests for medical professionals.

The governor mentioned she additionally has the choice of deploying National Guard members and partnering with the federal authorities to deploy Disaster Medical Assistance Teams.

“I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities,” she mentioned in a ready launch.

Hospitals across the state have been making ready contingency plans that included chopping again on elective surgical procedures. Many nursing properties have been limiting admissions.

“We’re roughly about 84% statewide vaccinated right now, so any initiatives that the governor could advance to increase the workforce is welcome and needed,” mentioned Stephen Hanse, who represents nursing properties statewide as president of the New York State Health Facilities Association and the New York State Center for Assisted Living.

Hochul, a Democrat, has resisted calls to delay the mandate, and her Eleventh-hour announcement might ratchet up strain on vaccine holdouts. She mentioned employees terminated due to refusal to be vaccinated will not be eligible for unemployment insurance coverage with no doctor-approved request for medical lodging.

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