New York gov mulls recruiting Pinoy health workers

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
New York gov mulls recruiting Pinoy health workers
Medical frontliners attend to patients on Tuesday midnight, April 27, 2021 at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon CIty which set up additional tents near the emergency room to attend to the influx of COVID-19 patients.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines — New York is considering hiring medical workers from the Philippines and other countries to replace unvaccinated staff at hospitals and nursing homes who will not comply with the state’s requirement for health workers to get COVID-19 vaccine shots.

In preparation for the vaccination deadline on Sept. 27, Gov. Kathy Hochul released on Saturday a comprehensive plan to address preventable staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities statewide.

“We are still in a battle against COVID to protect our loved ones, and we need to fight with every tool at our disposal,” Hochul said in a statement released by her office.

The plan includes preparing to sign an executive order, if necessary, to declare a state of emergency that seeks to increase workforce supply and allow qualified health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in the state of New York.

Hochul plans to work with the federal government and other state leaders to explore ways to expedite visa requests for medical professionals from the Philippines and other countries to come to New York to work.

“We’re also reaching out to the Department of State to find out about visas for foreign workers, on a limited basis, to bring more nurses over here,” she said last week.

According to the regulation issued by the State Department of Health, all health care workers in New York State, at hospitals and nursing homes, are to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the first dose received by Monday, Sept. 27, and staff at other covered entities including home care, hospice, and adult care facilities are to be vaccinated by Oct. 7.

As of Sept. 22, only 84 percent of all hospital employees in New York have been fully vaccinated. As of Sept. 23, only 81 percent of staff at all adult care facilities and 77 percent of all staff at nursing home facilities in the state were fully vaccinated.

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