Patients aren’t the only ones about to be discharged from some New York hospitals.
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras has fired off a memo to the heads of state-university-run hospitals warning them to notify their employees that if workers refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine by Monday, they will be slapped with “immediate suspension and pending termination.”
Malatras noted that the move comes after the state Health Department issued an emergency COVID-19 vaccine mandate last month.
The state order requires workers in healthcare facilities in New York to receive at least a first shot by Monday or risk being fired, unless they have an approved medical exemption.
“Pursuant to the New York State regulation please immediately notify all employees that have failed to advise you of their COVID-19 vaccination status, have failed to make plans to receive their first dose of the vaccine by September 27, 2021, or have not received an approved exemption, that their non-compliance will result in their immediate suspension and pending termination on Tuesday, September 28, 2021,” Malatras said.
“Non-compliant employees should receive their notification as soon as possible from their HR office regarding the date and time of their upcoming interrogation, if applicable.”
The memo was sent Friday to the chief executive officers and presidents of SUNY Downstate Hospital in Brooklyn, Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island and the Long Island State Veterans Home that it runs, and Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse.
“As you know, your hospital workers and or nursing homes are covered under this definition and therefore must comply with this change,” Malatras said in the internal letter obtained by The Post.
Another memo sent by Stony Brook University brass said anti-vaxxers “will be required to meet with a Labor Relations Specialist to discuss their non-compliance.
“These meetings are contractually referred to as `interrogations.’”
Gov. Kathy Hochul, is trying to aggressively enforce the mandate — and looking to recruit foreign workers as well as National Guard members and federal doctors and medics to replace workers who balk at getting their shots.
Despite dealing with immuno-compromised patients or residents most vulnerable to contracting COVID, thousands of healthcare workers in the state remain unvaccinated.
One out of six hospital workers statewide — 16 percent — remain unvaccinated, although the immunization rate has gone up in recent weeks as the deadline approaches. About one-quarter of employees at hospitals in The Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island have not gotten jabbed for COVID-19 protection.
Roughly one in seven nursing-home workers statewide — or 13 percent — are unvaccinated, too, according to the most recent state Health Department tally. Still, the vaccine rate has also recently improved considerably, with the sword of Damocles hanging over heads of the workers.
Public-employee unions and their workers have filed several lawsuits in federal court to block or invalidate the state’s vaccine mandate.
Ten hospital security officers, backed by their union, the New York State Correctional Officers PBA, asked a federal judge in the upstate Northern District of New York last week to declare the vaccine mandate unconstitutional and to block the state from enforcing the requirement.
Six of the employees work as security officers at SUNY Downstate Hospital, two at Stony Brook hospital and another at the New York State Veterans Home in Montrose, northern Westchester County.
A judge rejected the temporary restraining order, but the case is being appealed.
Another upstate suit filed by 17 health professionals, the majority of them Catholic, is claiming the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights are being violated because the state’s mandate disallows religious exemptions.
A federal appeals court on Friday slammed the breaks on New York City’s mandate requiring teachers and all school staffers to be vaccinated by Monday. A hearing before the US Court of Appeals for the Second circuit is scheduled for Wednesday.