NY preps for staff shortage with health care vaccine mandate

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Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Saturday she was ready to call on medically trained National Guard members, retirees and workers outside New York to address a potential staffing shortage due to an approaching vaccine mandate for health care workers.

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If necessary, Hochul said, she will declare a state of emergency through an executive order designed to address staffing shortages in hospitals and nursing homes once the mandate takes effect on Monday.

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Many health care workers still haven’t received a needed first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine before the deadline, potentially causing thousands of health care workers to be laid off next week.

The order would allow health care professionals who are licensed in other states or countries, are recent graduates, or are formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York, Hochul said, noting that he Exploring ways to expedite visa requests for medical professionals.

The governor said he also has the option of deploying members of the National Guard and partnering with the federal government to deploy disaster medical assistance teams.

“I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have plans to increase our health care workforce and help reduce the burden on our hospitals and other health care facilities,” she said in a prepared release.

Hospitals across the state are preparing contingency plans which include elective cut surgery. Many nursing homes were limiting admissions.

Stephen Hansey, who represents nursing homes across the state as president of the New York State Health Facilities Association, said, “We’re immunizing about 84% statewide right now, so any initiative by the governor to increase the workforce is welcome and necessary. Is.” and the New York State Center for Assisted Living.

Hochul, a Democrat, has resisted calls to delay the mandate, and his 11th-hour announcement could increase pressure on vaccine holdouts. She said that employees terminated due to refusal of vaccination without a doctor-approved request for medical accommodation are not eligible for unemployment insurance.

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