New York is taking "bold action" to deal with staffing shortages due to vaccine mandates.

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Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order Monday night to alleviate potential staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities statewide.

The executive order significantly expands the eligible health care workforce and allows additional health care workers to administer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, officials say.

Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the

On Monday, a mandate went into effect requiring hospital and nursing home employees to be vaccinated or face the possibility of losing their jobs.

"The only way we can move past this pandemic is to ensure that everyone eligible is vaccinated, and that includes those who are taking care of our vulnerable family members and loved ones," Hochul said. "On Saturday I released a comprehensive plan in advance of the deadline for the vaccine mandate that keeps New Yorkers safe, and tonight I am adding even more provisions to take bold action to alleviate potential staffing shortages. To monitor developments on the ground, I am also directing an around-the-clock operations center to assist local partners and troubleshoot staffing issues in real time."

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Hochul's full executive order is below:

Latest Vaccination Rates for Health Care Worker Populations

  • The percentage of nursing home staff receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose increased to 92% as of Monday evening, up from 70% on August 15 before the vaccine mandate was announced.
  • The percentage of adult care facilities staff receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose increased to 89% as of Monday evening, up from 76% on August 15 before the vaccine mandate was announced.
  • The percentage of hospital staff fully vaccinated is 84% as of September 22, up from 77% on August 10 before the vaccine mandate was announced. Preliminary self-reported data shows that hospital staff receiving at least one dose of vaccine is 92% as of Monday evening.
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Expanding Eligible Health Care Workforce to Meet Staffing Needs

  • To remove barriers to allow additional categories of health care workers to provide care in order to meet staffing needs in New York, the executive order includes a series of provisions, including:
  • Allowing out of state and out of country health care workers including physicians, RNs, LPNs, NPs, PAs, midwives, clinical nurse specialists, licensed master social workers, and licensed clinical social workers to practice in New York;
  • Waiving re-registration fees, creating an expedited re-registration process, and eliminating barriers to re-enter the workforce for retirees;
  • Allowing practitioners to work or volunteer in other facilities;
  • Allowing physician visits in nursing homes to be done using telemedicine;
  • Ensuring removal of barriers for EMTs and Advanced EMTs to practice and assist in additional settings, allowing basic EMTs to vaccinate and test for COVID-19, extending all EMS providers' certification period by one year, modifying certification requirements, and permitting out of state providers to operate in the New York State EMS System;
  • Allowing New York State-licensed providers without current registrations to practice without penalty for lack of registration;
  • Allowing graduates of SED-registered programs (NP, Lab, RN, LPN) to practice in a hospital or nursing home for 180 days following graduation; and
  • Providing flexibilities for clinical labs to increase testing capacity

The executive order also expands the scope of practice for additional health care workers to allow for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, including an expansion of the ability of midwives, registered nurses, physicians, and nurse practitioners to more easily administer and order COVID-19 vaccinations and testing as well as flu vaccinations.

The executive order also permits facilities to discharge, transfer, or receive patients quickly, provided they are protecting the health and safety of patients and residents and complying with federal law.

Additionally, the executive order suspends requirements for preauthorization review for scheduled surgeries in hospital facilities, hospital admissions, hospital outpatient services, home health care services following a hospital admission, and inpatient rehabilitation services following a hospital admission, as well as suspends concurrent and retrospective review of claims during the duration of the order.

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Additionally, Governor Hochul plans to work with the federal government and other state leaders to explore ways to expedite visa requests for medical professionals and is monitoring whether the deployment of medically-trained National Guard members may be necessary to execute at any point.

Governor Hochul has directed a 24/7 Operations Center, led by the New York State Department of Health, to constantly monitor staffing operations and trends statewide, provide guidance to healthcare facilities and help troubleshoot acute situations with providers as necessary.

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