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Hochul Announces Plan To Address Anticipated Shortage Of Healthcare Workers

NY Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul visits Plattsburgh
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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NY Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul visits Plattsburgh

Ahead of Monday’s COVID-19 vaccination deadline for healthcare workers in New York, Governor Kathy Hochul has released a plan to address anticipated staff shortages caused by unvaccinated staff leaving their positions.

The Democrat announced in a press release Saturday she would sign an executive order if necessary to declare a state of emergency to increase the healthcare workforce supply. The order would allow healthcare workers licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, and retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to work in New York State.

Hochul is also considering deploying National Guard personnel and coordinating with the federal government to deploy Disaster Medical Assistance Teams to assist healthcare systems in need of workers.

The Democrat says she also plans to work with the federal government and other state leaders to expedite visa requests for medical professionals.

Additionally, the state Department of Labor has issued guidance that workers who are terminated because of a refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccine are not eligible for unemployment insurance without a doctor’s approval for a medical exemption.

According to numbers provided by Hochul's office, 84 percent of all hospital employees in New York were fully vaccinated as of September 22nd.

As of September 23rd, 81 percent of staff at all adult care facilities and 77 percent of staff at nursing homes were fully vaccinated.

Under the state's vaccination mandate, all healthcare workers and nursing home staff must have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by September 27th.

Staff at other facilities including home care, hospice, and adult care facilities must receive at least one dose by October 7th.