New York hospitals brace for mass staff shortages as vaccine deadline looms
New York hospitals are bracing for mass staffing shortages as the state deadline for health care workers to get vaccinated hits Monday.
Hospitals and nursing homes have created backup plans such as delaying elective surgeries and limiting admissions, with one hospital even stopping maternity services, The Associated Press reported.
“I will be announcing a whole series of initiatives that we are doing to be prepared for a situation on Monday which I hope doesn’t happen,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday, according to WWNY TV.
“What is looming for Monday is completely avoidable and there’s no excuses,” she added.
Some medical centers, such as the Erie County Medical Center Corporation, are asking for an extension in the deadline to have more time to get people vaccinated, according to the AP.
“We would like to see some more time to be able to comply and implement the vaccine mandate, because at the end of the day it’s a situation where we’re very concerned about our ability to care for the patients,” Tom Quatroche, CEO of the medical center, said.
Maxine Carrington, the personnel chief for Northwell Health, said she has had personal conversations with each staff member who is not vaccinated in order to try to increase vaccinations.
“I’ve had personal conversations with team members, and I was asked by one: ‘Are you really going to fire us on the 27th?’ And I said, ‘let’s put that aside for a minute and let’s talk about saving your life. Why don’t you want to get vaccinated?'” Carrington said.
Along with health care workers, the United Federation of Teachers has also asked for the deadline to be pushed back, with the president of the group saying “our schools are not ready,” according to the AP.
With an increase in employer vaccine mandates around the country, layoffs for employees who refuse to get vaccinated will continue in industries that have already been struggling with a workers shortage.