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Thompson Health says they could have over 500 job openings if COVID-19 vaccine mandate moves forward

Facilities like FF Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua could be facing a workforce crisis with 500+ job openings in a matter of weeks.

Before the coronavirus pandemic hospitals like Thompson in Canandaigua had dozens of openings. In fact, they had 90 openings before the pandemic, according to CEO Mike Stapleton. “Pre-COVID, we had 90 openings in this health system out of 1,800 positions. This morning, I have 294,” he warned of a concerning situation.

New York State has mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for all healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes. President Joe Biden announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate that will cover most private practices.

There is no alternative currently. Employees who refuse the vaccine do not have a testing option. They will be terminated and lose out on unemployment benefits.

The clock is ticking, and Republican lawmakers have voiced concerns about a pending workforce crisis at hospitals across Upstate New York.

Stapleton said he’s concerned for Thompson. Right now they have 224 employees unvaccinated. Only 68 of them have indicated that they plan to get vaccinated to meet the mandate.

“When this all started in January/February 2020, I knew that we would be able to care of this community. I wasn’t scared then,” Stapleton told 13WHAM-TV. “We weren’t scared because we had 1,800 people working in the same direction working to care for this community. I had people fighting over who was going to care for the first COVID patient. Now, I’m scared, because of the openings and the vacancies that we have. And we’re busier now than we were back in COVID.”

Moving forward, Stapleton is worried that perhaps even the National Guard will be needed to keep things running. The kind of crisis that’s brewing- in his estimation- is as bad as any that hospitals have faced since the start of the pandemic.

“By the end of this, we might have over 500 openings,” said Stapleton. “There’s not 500 people to go out there and hire. They don’t exist.”

Republicans issue warning: ‘Workforce crisis’ coming to New York healthcare system if COVID vaccine mandate remains