Situation Report | October 4, 2021
Actions Taken to Address Facility Staff Shortages
On September 27, Governor Hochul signed an Executive Order (EO) that declares a statewide disaster emergency due to staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities.
The Order allows the Governor to “temporarily suspend or modify any statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or parts thereof, of any agency during a State disaster emergency, if compliance with such statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation would prevent, hinder, or delay action necessary to cope with the disaster emergency.”
Under this new authority, Hochul has taken certain actions to address staff shortages in hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities (most do not include home care). The Executive Order expands the eligible health care workforce and allows additional health care workers to administer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.
These actions do not address potential home care staff shortages due to the vaccine mandate. HCA is advocating for immediate state action (see separate article), including regulatory relief.
The facility-based efforts include:
- 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.
The EO 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.