ALBANY (AP) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Saturday she is prepared to call in medically trained National Guard members and retirees to address potential staffing shortages caused by an approaching vaccine mandate for health care workers.
Hochul released a plan to address what she called preventable staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities once the mandate takes effect Monday. Many health care workers have still not yet received a required first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine days before the deadline, leaving the prospect of potentially thousands of health care workers being forced off the job next week.
Hochul said she is prepared to sign an executive order, if necessary, to declare a state of emergency that would allow health care professionals who are licensed in other states or countries, are recent graduates, or are formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York.
The governor said she also has the option of deploying National Guard members and partnering with the federal government to deploy Disaster Medical Assistance Teams.
“I am monitoring the staffing situation closely, and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities,” she said in a prepared release.
Hospitals and nursing homes around the state have been preparing contingency plans that included cutting back on elective surgeries. Some nursing homes were limiting admissions.