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Hospitals prepare to cut services in light of staffing shortages

Sep 28, 2021 6:00 am

Brendan J. Lyons and Joshua Solomon are reporting for the Times Union hospitals are cutting back on services as the state vaccination mandate takes effect and thousands of health care workers are facing suspension or dismissal for refusing to be vaccinated. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a briefing the morning of September 27, she will pull health care workers from the National Guard and other states, if necessary, as hospitals statewide initiated plans over the weekend to begin reducing services as a deadline for health care workers to be vaccinated against coronavirus took effect. It is unclear how the mandate would apply to many of those workers as military units and health care workers in other states do not have 100 percent vaccination rates. "We’re going to have to bring in people at all levels. Again, it doesn’t have to be this way," Hochul said. The governor said she would sign an executive order that in addition to allowing her to call in the National Guard, it would also allow retired workers with lapsed licenses to come back to work to fill the gap. Hochul said the state intends to entice out of state workers with supplemental pay as a way to compete with staffing shortages nationwide. "We are not relenting," Hochul said. "We’re not backing off." She asserted the lack of vaccinations for health care workers is more prevalent upstate than downstate. The first phase of the vaccination mandate for many state employees, mostly nurses, physicians and other front-facing medical workers, took effect at 5 p.m., Mon., Sep. 27. Employees that refuse to be inoculated face immediate suspension for up to two weeks and possible termination after that. According to news10 [dot] com, 83 percent of hospital workers in Columbia County are fully vaccinated, a rate reportedly lower than in nearby counties. Columbia Memorial Health in Hudson, continues to experience longer wait times and have diverted patients to other hospitals or to its rapid care centers. However, CMH has now reduced the hours of operations at its Rapid Care Center in Copake. Read more in the Times Union.