New York hospitals face possible mass layoffs as workers reject vaccines

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“This is creating an unprecedented crisis for us,” said Tom Quatroche, president of the Erie County Medical Center Corporation. “I think we need more time to comply, and I asked for it. For all the right reasons, the vaccination mandate has been put in place. But the reality is it is creating a public health crisis in hospitals, with no one to treat patients. “

In New York, more than 5,000 of the 42,000 employees of the public hospital system were not vaccinated as of Friday. They will be excluded from hospitals from Monday and other healthcare facilities from October 7, and they will be put on unpaid leave.

The hospital system predicts that the vaccine’s mandate could lower the ranks of X-ray technologists and phlebotomists, in particular, and some doctors have been urged to limit the amount of imaging and blood tests they order next week, according to an internal message.

Layoffs under the new directive could prove particularly problematic for retirement homes, which already face staffing issues. The New York State Health Facilities Association, a professional group that represents about 250 nursing homes, has called on state officials to temporarily allow unvaccinated nursing home workers to continue working as long as they are tested regularly. .

“Although we are striving to reach 100 percent, we don’t think we will get there by Monday,” said Stephen Hanse, president of the association.

The wider range of workers to be vaccinated from October 7 includes those in diagnostic and treatment centers, adult care facilities, certified home health agencies and hospices.

Despite the potential staffing issues, the Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents about 140 health systems and 55 nursing homes, is supporting the deadline.

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