NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says the state has released a plan to address 'preventable' health care staff shortages ahead of Monday's vaccination deadline for health care workers.
According to the governor, the plan would include signing an executive order declaring a state of emergency to increase workforce supply, and allow other health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York State.
"We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we need to fight with every tool at our disposal," Governor Hochul said. "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. I commend all of the health care workers who have stepped up to get themselves vaccinated, and I urge all remaining health care workers who are unvaccinated to do so now so they can continue providing care."
Gov. Hochul says other options include deploying medically-trained National Guard members, and partnering with the federal government to deploy Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) to assist local health and medical systems.
All health care workers in New York State need to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 27, and staff at other covered entities including home care, hospice, and adult care facilities are to be vaccinated by October 7.
"As nurses, we are committed to providing the best care for our patients and working with the Governor on these efforts. We need adequate staffing to protect our patients and our colleagues, and we want to do everything we can to avoid returning to crisis levels during the pandemic. We are grateful to Governor Hochul for her leadership and for her bold and strategic plan to support nurses, patients, and ensuring the best possible care," said Pat Kane, RN, Executive Director of New York State Nurses Association.
"UUP will continue to fight for adequate funding and staffing at the SUNY Hospitals and is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our members and their patients. We understand the step that Governor Hochul is taking in light of the potential staff shortage. We remain hopeful that this step will not be necessary. We continue to urgently call on all UUP members and all New Yorkers to get vaccinated immediately," said Frederick E. Kowal, PH.D, President of United University Professions.
As of September 22, 84 percent of all hospital employees in New York State are fully vaccinated, and as of September 23, 81 percent of staff at all adult care facilities and 77 percent of all staff at nursing home facilities in New York State are fully vaccinated.