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NYC allows foreign medical workers to practice in hospitals

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
NYC allows foreign medical workers to practice in hospitals
New York earlier announced it was considering hiring medical workers from the Philippines and other countries to replace unvaccinated staff in hospitals and nursing homes who would not comply with the state’s requirement for health workers to get COVID-19 jabs.
STAR / Miguel De Guzman, file

MANILA, Philippines — As New York enforced its COVID-19 deadline for unvaccinated health workers, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed yesterday an executive order waiving existing regulations and allowing licensed medical professionals in other countries, including the Philippines, to practice in New York to ease anticipated staffing shortages in hospitals and nursing homes.

New York earlier announced it was considering hiring medical workers from the Philippines and other countries to replace unvaccinated staff in hospitals and nursing homes who would not comply with the state’s requirement for health workers to get COVID-19 jabs.

The order expands the eligible health care workforce and allows additional health workers to administer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.

“The only way we can move past this pandemic is to ensure that everyone eligible is vaccinated, and that includes those who are taking care of our vulnerable family members and loved ones,” Hochul said in a statement released by her office.

The governor plans to work with the federal government and other state leaders to explore ways to expedite visa requests for medical professionals. Hochul is monitoring whether the deployment of medically-trained National Guard members may be necessary to execute at any point.

Hochul released on Sunday a comprehensive plan ahead of the deadline for the vaccine mandate that keeps New Yorkers safe and make up for the potential loss of workers who are terminated because of their refusal to be vaccinated.

She stood by the Monday midnight COVID-19 vaccination deadline and directed a 24/7 Operations Center, led by the New York State Department of Health, to monitor staffing operations and trends statewide, provide guidance to health care facilities and help troubleshoot acute situations with providers as necessary.

Home healthcare workers, employees of hospices and others who work at an adult-care facility must also be vaccinated by Oct. 7 or they will lose their jobs.

The number of nursing home staff receiving at least one vaccine dose increased to 92 percent as of Monday night, up from 70 percent on Aug. 15 before the vaccine mandate was announced.

The percentage of adult care facilities staff receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot rose to 89 percent, up from 76 percent.

The number of hospital staff fully vaccinated stood at 84 percent as of Sept. 22, up from 77 percent on Aug. 10. Preliminary self-reported data showed that hospital staff receiving at least one dose of vaccine reached 92 percent as of Monday.

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