How a vaccine mandate could exacerbate the shortage of home care assistants
JASA, an organization that serves older adults in New York City, said that after all efforts by the agency, its staff members rushed to get vaccinated this week. Of its 660 home health aides, some 94 percent are now vaccinated, up from 20 percent who submitted proof by August, said the organization’s director, Katherine Haslanger. Five people resigned over the mandate.
This week’s vaccine deadline covers certified home health agencies, long-term home health care programs, hospices and adult care facilities, set by the Department of Health in an Aug. 26 emergency regulation.
The status of the vaccine mandate in the US
- Vaccine Rules. On August 23, the FDA granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNtech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older, paving the way for mandates in both the public and private sectors. Such a mandate is legally permitted and upheld in court challenges.
- Colleges and Universities. More than 400 colleges and universities require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Nearly all are in states that voted for President Biden.
- School. California became the first state to issue a vaccine mandate for all teachers and announced plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine as a requirement to attend school, which could begin as early as next fall. Los Angeles already has a vaccine mandate for public school students ages 12 and older that begins Nov. 21. New York City’s mandate for teachers and staff, which took effect on October 4 after being delayed due to legal challenges, appears to have taken thousands of last-minute shots.
- Hospitals and Medical Centers. Many hospitals and major health systems require staff to be vaccinated. Mandates for health care workers in California and New York state appear to have forced thousands of holdouts to get shots.
- indoor activities. New York City requires workers and customers to show evidence of at least one dose of COVID-19 for indoor dining, gyms, entertainment and performances. 4, Los Angeles will require most people to provide proof of full vaccination to enter a range of indoor businesses, including restaurants, gyms, museums, movie theaters and salons, in one of the nation’s strictest vaccine regulations .
- at the federal level. on 9 september, President Biden announced a vaccine mandate for the vast majority of federal workers. The order will apply to employees of the Executive Branch, including members of the White House and all federal agencies and the armed services.
- NSThat private sector. Mr Biden has mandated that all companies with more than 100 workers be required to be vaccinated or tested weekly, helping to push for new corporate vaccination policies. Some companies, such as United Airlines and Tyson Foods, already had mandates in place before Mr Biden’s announcement.
As per the hospital order, limited medical exemption is allowed. The regulation does not allow for religious exemptions, but workers whose employers have approved their religious exemptions may be allowed to work now while the issue is challenged in court.
Despite the work done to care for high-risk patients, the state’s hundreds of thousands of home health care workers have largely remained out of the limelight during the pandemic. For example, home health workers were not initially included in New York’s top priority category for vaccination, although after lobbying efforts, they were added.
Most home health aides — the bulk of the home health work force — make close to the state minimum wage of $15 an hour. The home health care system, largely funded by Medicare and Medicaid, also relies on a small number of nurses to help care for homebound patients. Agencies also hire therapists and social workers.
Already facing an industrywide staffing shortage, agencies have begun implementing emergency staffing plans, including limiting new admissions, overburdening family members of home care recipients, and authorizing overtime. Including to say. The Visiting Nurse Service is asking to comply with the mandate by the end of the year.
Assembly member Richard Gottfried, who chairs the health committee, said in an interview that “a slight delay may be well understood,” given the ongoing staffing crisis in home care. He also suggested that the state use federal funds to offer increased pay and overtime incentives to help hire and retain home health aides.
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