Jensen: New York On Verge of a Care Crisis

Assemblyman says state’s impending loss of critically important healthcare workers will negatively impact vulnerable populations

With the state-ordered vaccine mandate date of September 27 only days away, communities across New York are on the verge of a healthcare crisis, especially for those in need of long-term care. Assemblyman Josh Jensen (R,C,I-Greece) is calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul and Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker to make changes to this mandate by allowing for religious and cultural exemptions and instituting bi-weekly testing provisions for those who opt-out of receiving the vaccine.

“While we must be concerned with the possibility of COVID-19 spread in healthcare settings, a vaccine mandate that pushes care providers and essential staff off the front lines will only exacerbate the strain on healthcare systems,” said Assemblyman Jensen.

For long-term care providers, this additional mandate, along with restrictive budgetary and staffing related acts by the state Legislature earlier this year, will dramatically limit the ability to admit new residents. These pressures limit long-term providers in their allocation of staff to provide services to the residents already entrusted in their care.

 In the Rochester region alone, many nursing homes have already alerted health systems that they will no longer accept referrals from area hospitals. Combined with these same hospitals beginning to limit health services, community residents will have no place to turn in a time of health crisis. Additionally, with this staffing crisis, the state must join the interstate Nursing Licensure Compact on an emergency basis to allow out of state nurses an easier pathway to join our healthcare workforce. Time is running out for New York state take a common-sense approach to ensuring an adequate supply of healthcare employees and no gap in care for community residents.

“The implementation of this mandate will further stretch staffing levels and have a trickle-down effect on every member of our community who seeks out medical care,” said Jensen.