HCA Continues Push for Vaccine Policy Accommodations

Situation Report | September 13, 2021    

HCA continues to reach out directly and full-bore to Governor Kathy Hochul’s office, to officials at the state Department of Health and other critical sources to urge action on concerns and recommended accommodations by HCA on the state’s vaccine mandate policy for home care and hospice workers, with related consequential impact on managed long term care plans.  

Pressure continues to mount from all core sectors on the state to amend its regulations and/or to otherwise release an implementation plan that allows for reasonable and progressive compliance, and avoids work flight, further deepening the crisis shortage in the health care workforce. 

Reflecting the health care sector’s concerns, the State Assembly Republican Leader and Conference issued a public statement and letter underscoring the workforce emergency and appealing for responsible parameters. The Assembly statement and letter can be viewed here. 

This week, the Governor reinforced her commitment to her Department’s mandatory vaccination policy; but, in a sign the industry’s concerns may be resonating, especially in regard to the emergency workforce conditions in the state, the Governor said that she was in discussions about “narrow accommodations” that may need to be made to the policy.  

Along with direct outreach to the Governor’s cabinet, HCA is seizing every discussion and meeting with the Health Department to hammer home the urgency of accommodations in the vaccination mandate and the ramifications of reductions in the workforce if the regulations remain inflexible and with no reasonable runway. HCA is also stressing that time is shrinking and a state tactic of waiting to see if the bottom falls out of the workforce supply before acting, is not a responsible strategy. 

HCA asks members to be at the ready with data and status updates on workforce, vaccination rates and potential workforce loss, as these will be vital to discussions with the state.