NY preps for staff shortages with health care vaccine mandate

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New York City officials were temporarily blocked from enforcing a similar vaccine mandate for its teachers and other school staff

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Governor Kathy Hochul said Saturday she is ready to call on medically trained National Guard members, retirees and workers outside New York City to address a potential staffing shortage created by a nearing vaccine mandate for health care workers. .

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.

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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 is a medical practitioner. Exploring ways to expedite visa requests for 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.

As the state made its preparations, New York City officials were temporarily barred from enforcing a similar vaccine mandate for their teachers and other school staff. The city’s mandate was due to take effect Monday, but a federal appeals judge on Friday granted a temporary injunction and referred the matter to a three-judge panel on an expedited basis.

Hospitals across the state are preparing contingency plans that include cutting back on elective surgeries. 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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