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Hochul signs executive order to expand workforce, allow additional health care workers to administer COVID-19 testing & vaccinations


Tue, Sep 28th 2021 10:00 am

Directs 24/7 command center to monitor and troubleshoot staffing shortages

√ New York state first-in-nation on health care worker vaccination mandate – 92% of nursing home staff compliant as of Monday evening, up from 70%

√ Suspension of administrative reviews will add additional source of health care workers

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday night signed an executive order to alleviate potential staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities statewide. Her team said, “The executive order significantly expands the eligible health care workforce and allows additional health care workers to administer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.”

Hochul said, "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. 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."

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 health care facilities and help troubleshoot acute situations with providers as necessary. The governor is engaged in ongoing outreach with local elected officials, hospitals, labor leaders and other health care organizations to check-in on staffing status and offer state assistance.

Latest Vaccination Rates for Health Care Worker Populations

Hochul’s team said:

√ 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 Aug. 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 Aug. 15.

√ The percentage of hospital staff fully vaccinated is 84% as of Sept. 22, up from 77% on Aug. 10. Preliminary self-reported data shows hospital staff receiving at least one dose of vaccine is 92% as of Monday evening.

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 reregistration fees, creating an expedited reregistration process, and eliminating barriers to reenter 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.

Hochul’s team said, “To aid in facilitating faster, efficient patient transfers to mitigate any staffing issues, 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.

“Additionally, Gov. 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.”

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