Governor’s Plan to Replace Nurses With National Guard Confirmed

Governor's Plan to Replace Nurses With National Guard Confirmed

( – Taking over the government of New York State after disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned is no small feat, especially as the coronavirus is still around in some capacity. However, new Governor Kathy Hochul (D) is making some bold decisions when it comes to her state’s health system, including one that some believe to be a bit hypocritical.

Workers Fired As Vaccine Mandate Rolls Out

On Monday, September 27, New York’s vaccine mandate took effect, forcing many nurses and doctors to resign as they were unwilling to comply. Those seeking a religious exemption do not have to leave quite yet, as a federal judge issued a restraint against that part of the state’s mandate. However, multiple hospitals and home care settings are already reporting shortages in the state, including one maternity ward that completely shut down after most of the staff resigned.

Hochul Tries to Bring In New Staff

The day the mandate went into effect, Hochul announced an executive order that would allow her to put National Guard members into understaffed hospital and healthcare settings. She also asked the federal government to speed up visa processing in hopes of getting medical staff from other countries to serve her state.

While this could work, there are worker shortages all around the country and likely across the globe. In addition, the National Guard’s vaccine mandate does not go into effect until June 2022, meaning many members may still not have the vaccine.

This proposal raises many questions, like how many National Guard staffers are medically qualified and fully vaccinated? Will there be enough to meaningfully assist New York in its self-imposed crisis? Lastly, who fills in at the military members’ jobs before they follow Hochul’s orders?

Finding the Best Solution to a “Preventable” Problem

Even Hochul herself admitted this situation is “a preventable staffing shortage.” While she could avoid this by allowing medical workers to make their own personal healthcare decisions, as that’s their specialty, she has chosen not to do so. Instead, she’s pulling resources from another part of the country in order to fill this gap.

If Hochul follows through on this plan, New Yorkers should hope there are no unpreventable crises on the horizon, as it seems all the vaccinated National Guard members trained in healthcare are working around the state, in hospitals and nursing homes. Even New York State Public Employees Federation President Wayne Spence highlighted that he doesn’t “think there’s enough people to go around to plug the holes” in the healthcare system.

While Hochul remains optimistic about her hardline decision, hopefully, she doesn’t put New Yorkers’ lives and livelihoods at risk simply by continuing to enforce a mandate and executive order that may not work.

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