YAHOO! NEWS – New York this week gave the nation an early glimpse of what the Biden administration’s 50-state vaccine mandate for health care workers might look like.
The Empire State’s hospitals dismissed or suspended dozens of workers for failing to meet a Monday deadline requiring workers get at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Anticipating service disruptions from frontline health workers quitting or getting fired, health systems from New York City to upstate delayed non-emergency operations, cut clinic hours and paid travel nurses up to $200 an hour to fill vacant shifts.
The dismissals represented a small percentage of workers at large health systems. Most holdout employees got vaccinated in the days leading up to Monday’s deadline as Gov. Kathy Hochul touted a 92% immunization rate among hospital staff this week.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it – it’s certainly been difficult,” said Bea Grause, president of the Healthcare Association of New York State.
Despite the short-term headaches, Grause said the mandate is critical “to put COVID-19 in the rearview mirror” and protect workers, patients and the communities they serve.
“There’s no cheap, easy or quick fix to it, and we’re just going to have to problem solve as we move forward,” she said.
‘More and more jobs open’
President Joe Biden last month announced all hospitals that take Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement must vaccinate their workers.
The agency that oversees those federal health programs has yet to announce details on when a national mandate will take effect.
While health leaders acknowledge and support mandatory vaccination, some worry workforce disruptions punctuate a widespread shortage of health care workers at hospitals and clinics nationwide … READ MORE.