Hospitals fear staffing shortages as vaccine deadlines loom

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New York, California and Connecticut have implemented ultimatums for employees

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Hospitals and nursing homes around the US are forced to meet staff shortages as the state’s deadline approaches for health care workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

With ultimatums taking effect this week in states like New York, California, Rhode Island and Connecticut, fears are that some workers will quit or find themselves fired or suspended. get vaccinated.

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“How this is going to play out, we don’t know. We are concerned about how this will exacerbate an already quite serious staffing problem,” said california Hospital Association spokesman Jan Emerson-Shea said the organization “absolutely” supports the state’s vaccination requirement.

NY prepares for staffing shortage with health care vaccine mandate

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New York Health care workers had until the end of the day to take at least one dose on Monday, but some hospitals had already begun suspending or otherwise taking action against holdouts.

Erie County Medical Center Corp in Buffalo said that along with 20% of its nursing home staff, about 5% of its hospital staff have been placed on unpaid leave for not being vaccinated. And Northwell Health, the state’s largest health care provider, said it had begun removing unvaccinated workers from its system, though it said its workforce is nearly 100% vaccinated.

“For those who haven’t made this decision yet, please do the right thing.” New York Gov. Kathy Hochulu said.

Some New York hospitals devised contingency plans that included cutting non-critical services and limiting admissions to nursing homes. The governor also prepared a plan to call for help National Guard Members with medical training, retirees, or vaccinated workers from outside the state.

About a dozen states have vaccination mandates covering health care workers in hospitals, long-term care facilities, or both. Some allow exemptions on medical or religious grounds, but those employees will often have to submit to regular COVID-19 testing.

States that have set such requirements already have high vaccination rates. The highest rates are concentrated in the Northeast, with the lowest in the South and Midwest.

NS Biden Administration It would also require the nearly 17 million workers in health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid to be fully immunized under a rule still being developed.

New York Gov. Could tap the National Guard to replace health care workers without getting vaccinated

This has worried some hospital officials, especially in rural communities where vaccination rates are low.

“We are seeing a need to reallocate staff, in some cases only to maintain essential services, and there are going to be some delays in care,” said Troy Bruntz, president and CEO of Community Hospital in McCook. handjob Nebraska.

He said 25 of the hospital’s 330 staff said they would definitely resign if they needed to be vaccinated. Of the nearly 100 unvaccinated workers, the remainder – a group that includes nurses as well as cleaning and maintenance workers – have decided not to.

He also worries that hiring new staff will be difficult when the hospital is already small.

“It doesn’t make us feel very confident that this is going to be nothing less than a nightmare for American health care,” he said.

Many hospitals and nursing homes are already facing staff shortages as many nurses and others have left jobs as a result of pandemic-related burnout or moved from state to state for lucrative jobs.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted that hospitals in Houston and Maine recently lost relatively small numbers of staff after requiring vaccinations.

“We’re seeing in a lot of places that it’s working, it’s effective. It’s creating more certainty and security in their workforce,” Saki said.

Fear of shortage of government employees intensifies

In California, where health care workers have until Thursday to fully vaccinate, some hospitals are anticipating firing, suspensions or other positions of people, Emerson-Xi said. She said many traveling nurses have declined assignment in California because of the state’s vaccine requirement.

But with statewide mandates, health workers will not be able to leave their jobs and go to other hospitals, said Dr. Jeff Smith said.

He expects about 97 percent of Cedars-Sinai’s roughly 17,000 employees affected by the vaccine mandate will adhere to the deadline. Another 1 percent have applied for a medical or religious exemption. Those who don’t comply by Friday will be suspended for a week, and fired on October 8 if they don’t comply or if the circumstances are mitigating, he said.

The hospital was able to hire over 100 nurses last month and uses some travel nurses.

“We’re in a good place, but don’t want to downplay the challenges other hospitals are facing,” Smith said.

In Rhode Island, where the vaccine order takes effect Friday, the state said hospitals could allow unvaccinated workers to work 30 days before the deadline, where firing them would compromise patient safety. The mandate is being challenged in court because it does not allow religious exemptions.

In the states which do not have the mandate, some hospitals are imposing their own.

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Ginger Robertson, a registered nurse working in a mental health clinic at a hospital in Bismarck, North Dakota, has requested a religious exemption from her hospital’s vaccination requirement. She said that if she could not find it, she would look for another job.

“To be honest, I really love my job. I’m good at it. I enjoy my patients. I enjoy where I am.” “So it’s a really hard place, having to choose between two things that I don’t want to do. I don’t want to quit, and I don’t want to get vaccinated.”

She said other nurses are also considering calling her an “outrageous” mandate.

“We feel discouraged, as if we are not intelligent enough to make these choices for ourselves,” Robertson said.

A North Carolina-based hospital system announced Monday that more than 175 of its more than 35,000 employees have been fired for failing to comply with its COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Last week, Novant Health announced that 375 workers had been suspended and given five days to comply. Spokesperson Megan Rivers said about 200 of them did so – including those who submitted approved exemptions – before the Friday deadline.

Massachusetts’ mandate, issued by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, applies only to rest homes, assisted living facilities, hospice programs, and home care programs. It allows medical and religious exemptions but does not require routine testing. Deadline is 31 October.

In Connecticut, a vaccine mandate for employees of government hospitals went into effect Monday. This does not apply to privately run hospitals, some of which are imposing their own requirements. Medical and religious exemptions are possible, but anyone who fails to be vaccinated will be barred from the workplace.

As of Wednesday, about 84% of the more than 450,000 hospital workers in New York had been fully vaccinated, according to state figures. Nursing home data as of Sunday showed that about 89 per cent of nursing home workers have been fully vaccinated.

New York City’s hospital system reported a 95% vaccination rate for nurses and a higher rate for doctors.

In Missouri, which became a serious COVID-19 hot spot over the summer, the Mersey hospital system is requiring vaccination among staff at hundreds of its medical centers and clinics in Missouri and neighboring states as of Thursday.

Mercy spokeswoman Bethany Pope said anyone who did not comply by that time would be placed on an unpaid 30-day suspension.


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