ALBANY — Capital Region hospitals are scrambling to find new ways to recruit and retain staff amid a staffing shortage they say has reached crisis levels and as Monday’s deadline looms for health care workers in New York to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Area hospital leaders say the vaccine mandate is not responsible for the current staffing shortage. But they expect it will exacerbate the issue and could potentially impact care as thousands of unvaccinated health care workers statewide risk losing their jobs if they have not received at least one dose of vaccine or applied for an exemption by Monday.
“I’ve been in this business for nearly 40 years,” said Saratoga Hospital President and CEO Angelo Calbone. “This is the most alarming potential staffing crisis shortage I’ve seen in my career.”
Calbone and other area hospital leaders say that while they support the vaccine mandate and believe it’s right to require vaccination as a condition of employment in care settings, it comes as hospitals are already faced with severe staffing shortages due to longstanding factors such as demographic trends, burnout and stress.