New York and California Scramble to Fill Gaps From Non-Vaccinated Healthcare Workers

AP Photo/Taimy Alvarez

New York is no longer holding out for their heroes. They are firing and replacing them.

From the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul:

“We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we need to fight with every tool at our disposal,” Governor Hochul said. “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. I commend all of the health care workers who have stepped up to get themselves vaccinated, and I urge all remaining health care workers who are unvaccinated to do so now so they can continue providing care.”

The plan includes preparing to sign an executive order if necessary to declare a state of emergency that seeks to increase workforce supply and allow qualified health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York State.

The Department of Labor has issued guidance to clarify that workers who are terminated because of refusal to be vaccinated are not eligible for unemployment insurance absent a valid doctor-approved request for medical accommodation.

In the words of the late, great Douglas Adams: “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”

To summate the words of Gov. Hochul: “Don’t let the doorknob hit you on the way out.”

What the heck happened? All of a sudden, people who were heroes, who risked their own lives to save countless lives from COVID, before a vaccine even existed, are now villains who don’t deserve a job because they refuse the vaccine.

These are the people who not only saved lives, but held patients’ hands as they died, because their loved ones weren’t allowed to be there to do the same. They stood in the gap when New York and the world needed them.

This is the thanks they get. Fickle much, New York?

This is so cold and calculating, especially since the majority of these workers have probably already had COVID several times over.

I’m old enough to remember when a certain Broadway luminary serenaded the essential workers, because he was so grateful for their life-saving work in getting him to recovery from COVID-19:

Every night, after a 7 p.m. tribute to the health care workers, the booming voice of Broadway legend Brian Stokes Mitchell reverberates through a Manhattan street. It’s his own special way of thanking the medical professionals on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mitchell — who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late March and has since recovered, according to social media videos shared with his “Stokes Folks” — is seen in one video shared by neighbor Erik Hartog performing “The Impossible Dream” from the 1965 Broadway musical “Man of La Mancha,” for which he was nominated for a Tony.

In the video, he changes the lyrics to the popular song slightly to honor the fire and ambulance crews who have stopped by to listen to what would be, under other circumstances, an unlikely moment.

“And the world will be better for this: that one first responder, and firefighter and essential worker,” he sings as the crowd gathered in the street below erupts in cheers.

But between Holier-than-thou Hochul, and Dementia Joe threatening livelihoods with their overreaching mandates, the times have now changed.

So, here’s what we do know: New York, California, and other states that are co-signing this garbage need health care professionals more than health care professionals need them. There are plenty of states that are not riding the mandate train, so healthcare workers have plenty of options, and they are making use of them. Traveling nurse, anyone?

Governor Gavin Newsom, from my not-so-great state, issued an executive order that all state employees and health care workers must be vaccinated by September 30. Now that His Hairfulness has skated recall, he is doubling down on his madness, just like King George III.

But as the Rolling Stones warble, You can’t always get what you want… and even for the death merchants of the California Department of Public Health, trying to get what they need is presenting quite a challenge:

From the Center Square:

Years before COVID-19, nursing shortages were already a problem statewide, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development reports. Based on 2018 data, it designated 58 out of 72 geographic areas in the state as Registered Nurse Shortage Areas. Among them, 17 had high shortages, 21 had medium shortages.

Now the state is facing an even greater nursing shortage, professionals throughout the state note, resulting in Gov. Gavin Newsom signing an executive order to allow out-of-state healthcare workers to work in California. The order reinstated emergency provisions allowing the CDPH to waive certain staffing licensing requirements through Dec. 31 for applicable hospitals and health facilities per California code.

But even this has hit a roadblock because of traveling nurses, who are in high demand, who won’t comply with the federal or state mandates, turning down California assignments. The traveling nurse shortage is also problematic because the state last year contracted with one of the nation’s largest traveling nurse providers to help already understaffed medical facilities.

In March 2020, the CDPH contracted with Aya Health, committing to pay up to $1 billion over six months to help hospitals meet nursing and other clinical staff shortages.

“All of our hospitals are saying staffing is a big problem,” Lois Richardson, attorney for the California Hospital Association, told Cal Matters. “We have fewer personnel than at the beginning of the pandemic and more patients.”

Who could have seen that coming?

NTD News reports on the state of New York state hospitals after Holier-than-thou Hochul’s diktats:

Some hospitals in New York state are bracing for disruptions due to staff shortages triggered by a COVID-19 vaccine mandate that took effect on Sept. 27 for health care workers.

“We’re anticipating a problem,” said Michael Balboni, executive director of the Greater New York Health Care Facilities Association, according to The Wall Street Journal. “There are already many nursing homes that have not been taking new admissions over the last weeks, and looking at their staffing routines so they basically stretch.”

Ahead of anticipated staffing problems, Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Sept. 25 she was prepared to activate National Guard members who have medical training to replace health care workers. She said providers can allow workers licensed in other states and countries, as well as recent graduates and retired health care professionals, to work in the state.

Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, located upstate, announced it would pause some elective procedures for two weeks over the shortages, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, which operates the facility.

See how that works? How long will it take for the National Guard and these foreign medical personnel to get up to speed? According to a nurse trainer I know, medical errors are a major factor in preventable injury and death in hospital settings, and those errors increase with poor communication between medical personnel, and gaps in communication. Bet there’ll be a whole lot of gaps during this process.

So, good luck with that. And if you live in California or New York, and can afford to, avoid going to the hospital.