Local health centers don’t expect mass walkouts on COVID-19 vaccine mandate
North Fork Medical Centers appear to have escaped the wave of quits that have hit some other New York City hospitals, where staff have quit rather than comply with a state-issued vaccine warrant.
Employees of New York City hospitals and long-term care facilities must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 27, according to the state’s mandate. A hospital in the upstate announced earlier this month that it would shut down maternity services after dozens of staff left rather than get vaccinated.
A spokesperson for another New York hospital that saw 11 employees quit on September 14 noted that the warrant had particularly affected rural facilities.
Although North Fork Medical Centers have seen a few quits, many appear to have escaped the shock of vaccine-related walkouts. Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport has not seen a significant impact on staffing levels, a hospital spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
“We are constantly monitoring the situation to optimize preparation and make the necessary adjustments,” the email said.
Likewise, Peconic Bay Medical Center did not see a significant impact on staffing, although executive director Amy Loeb said a few employees have resigned.
âThere are a few who don’t support and would rather not get the vaccine, if you will, but that’s the minority,â she said.
More than 80% of the medical center staff have been vaccinated and that number continues to rise, according to Ms. Loeb.
Peconic Landing also did not suffer from a staff shortage due to the mandate. The leadership of the Greenport retiree community has “had many conversations, many educational opportunities, one-to-one discussions” with members of the vaccine team, said COO Greg Garrett.
“When the immunization mandate was first issued, there were a lot of concerns, a lot of questions and a lot of unknowns,” he said, adding that he expected most members of the staff would be vaccinated by the September 27 deadline. He noted, however, that the facility has already lost a few people to the warrant and could lose a few more when the blackout comes next week.
âWe had people who we thought might not be vaccinated, but we had one-on-one conversations with them and talked with them. They are very happy with Peconic Landingâ¦ [and are] very committed to our members, and many of those people are now choosing to be vaccinated, âsaid Garrett.
More than 80% of the Peconic Landing team are vaccinated, a number that will likely increase over the next few days, according to Garrett. âWe are beating state averages,â added CEO and Chairman Bob Syron.
He pointed out that some staff have expressed hesitation about the vaccine due to medical conditions. âThere are people who have legitimate reasons to be concerned about getting it right now,â he said.
San Simeon by the Sound is not worried about losing staff due to the vaccination mandate – as of September 17, around 90% of employees were vaccinated and only two per diem workers had protested against the vaccine – but the facility is concerned about ‘a chronic staff shortage that was only exacerbated by the pandemic.
âI preach to my managers here that we have to be a bit like Disneyland now. You have to be the happiest place in the world for all working people, âsaid Steven Smyth, executive vice president and director.
The Greenport Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has increased salaries “by incredible amounts, despite financial losses” and offered bonuses for enrollment, retention and referrals. âYou are really trying to do what you can to keep people here and keep them happy,â Mr. Smyth said.
Although Peconic Landing has also suffered from industry-wide staff shortages outside of the vaccines mandate, Garrett said the facility has seen a ‘positive boost’ in hiring since exhaustion. improved unemployment benefits.
âWe’ve had some staffing and recruiting issues, but we have a very strong core team and a very strong management team and we’ve been able to overcome that,â he said.
Mr. Syron highlighted the high cost of living in the region as an additional challenge for staffing levels, and noted that âa strong culture here of valuing our employeesâ at the facility has contributed to retention.
âIn these times we are all rolling up our sleeves, we are engaging, we are working together – as a leader alongside our frontline staff – and we are doing it,â he said. Peconic Landing also offers sponsorship and hiring bonuses.
Mr Syron added that people should get vaccinated against COVID-19. âThis is really what will stop this pandemic in the end, or reduce it to a trickle,â he said.