Plattsburgh hospital delays elective procedures, citing staff crisis and COVID-19 workload

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The main Plattsburgh area hospital is postponing elective surgeries that require an overnight stay.

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital says the decision was prompted by the double impact of a high volume of COVID-19 patients and a staff shortage.

The hospital has delayed voluntary inpatient procedures for three weeks as it tries to get more nurses. Chief Medical Officer Dr Lisa Mark said the CVPH is at full capacity, the result of a constant flow of patients with COVID-19.

“Yesterday was 17, the day before 17. Before that it was in the 20s some days, and these are patients we don’t have an immediate bed for because we are full,” Mark said via Zoom.

She noted that the staffing issues at CVPH are the result of a number of factors, including opposition to New York State’s vaccine mandate.

“There is some impact of mandates on vaccines,” Mark said, noting that 55 staff resigned during the mandate.

Another 52 employees are working under temporary religious exemptions that the state has asked a federal court to overturn. A decision in this case is expected this week.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has previously said the vaccines mandate has not caused any critical staff shortages. She plans to use National Guard medical personnel to address such shortages.

Other workers have chosen to leave their normal staff positions in favor of more flexible travel jobs, which are in high demand amid a nationwide nursing shortage.

“Some nurses have chosen to travel instead of continuing in their current position, they can move to a per diem position instead of a full-time position,” said Mark. “It really complicates our staffing and it affects our ability to keep all beds open at all times. “

Compensation for traveling nurses has skyrocketed, with some earning as much as $ 10,000 per week.

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