ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul mentioned Saturday she is ready to name in medically educated Nationwide Guard members, retirees and staff exterior New York to handle potential staffing shortages brought on by an approaching vaccine mandate for well being care staff.
If vital, Hochul mentioned, she’s going to declare a state of emergency by way of an government order designed to handle staffing shortages in hospitals and nursing houses as soon as the mandate takes impact Monday.
Many well being care staff have nonetheless not but obtained a required first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine days earlier than the deadline, leaving the prospect of probably 1000’s of well being care staff being compelled off the job subsequent week.
The order would permit well being care professionals who’re licensed in different states or nations, are current graduates, or are previously practising well being care professionals to follow 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 Nationwide Guard members and partnering with the federal authorities to deploy Catastrophe Medical Help Groups.
“I’m monitoring the staffing state of affairs carefully, and we’ve got a plan to extend our well being care workforce and assist alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and different well being care amenities,” she mentioned in a ready launch.
Hospitals across the state have been making ready contingency plans that included reducing again on elective surgical procedures. Many nursing houses had been limiting admissions.
“We’re roughly about 84% statewide vaccinated proper now, so any initiatives that the governor may advance to extend the workforce is welcome and wanted,” mentioned Stephen Hanse, who represents nursing houses statewide as president of the New York State Well being Services Affiliation and the New York State Middle for Assisted Residing.
Hochul, a Democrat, has resisted calls to delay the mandate, and her Eleventh-hour announcement may ratchet up stress on vaccine holdouts.
She mentioned staff terminated due to refusal to be vaccinated should not eligible for unemployment insurance coverage with out a doctor-approved request for medical lodging.