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Governor Announces Vaccine Mandate for Some Health Care Workers

HCA has confirmed that mandate will not apply to home care

In a press release this morning, Governor Cuomo announced a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers, with first doses to be required by September 27.

The Governor’s press release does not mention home care, but HCA has confirmed with state health officials today that the new requirements announced will not apply to home care workers.

While the announcement said the mandate was required for “all healthcare workers in New York State,” it references imminent Section 16 Orders for hospitals, nursing homes and other long term care facilities (including adult care and other congregate care settings).

The Governor’s announcement also says that Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was briefed on today’s announcement, signaling coordination on the issue between the outgoing Cuomo administration and the incoming Hochul administration following Governor Cuomo’s announcement last week of his resignation, effective August 25.

According to today’s press release, the Section 16 Orders will require providers to develop and implement a policy mandating employee vaccinations, with limited exceptions for those with religious or medical reasons.

The announcement does not mention testing as an alternative to vaccination.

Applicability to Contractors?

HCA is seeking to determine whether the mandate for workers in congregate settings would also apply to contractors in those settings, such as home care or hospice providers whose workers provide services in skilled nursing facilities and adult care facilities.

Reminder about the NYC mandate for contractors

HCA has already reported on a vaccine mandate for all New York City employees and NYC-contracted employees. Contracted employees include home care staff employed by agencies that have contracts with NYC Human Resources Administration for personal care services and personal assistants providing consumer directed services whose Fiscal Intermediaries have contracts with NYC. This would also include those agencies that have contracts with the NYC Department for the Aging and provide services under the Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP) and other city agencies.

Next Steps

While the Governor’s mandate does not apply to home care, we are watching developments very closely and discussing concerns with state officials.

We are also redoubling our effort to ensure that vaccines are readily available for home care and hospice workers while calling for funds to cover non-reimbursed COVID-related costs such as education, infection control initiatives, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other expenses to help provide critical relief and stability to the home care and hospice infrastructure.

Please stay tuned as we learn more about this major development.

Third Dose

The Governor also announced that the Department of Health has authorized a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for New Yorkers with compromised immune systems, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation last week.

Eligible New Yorkers can receive their third dose 28 days after the completion of their two-dose vaccine series, effective immediately.

To learn more, read the Governor’s press release here.