New York State Governor Kathy Hochul speaks with reporters outside
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul Credit: John Lamparski / Contributor/Getty Images (rights managed)

Long-term care providers should have no problem complying with a new emergency order issued by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) requiring facilities to provide access COVID-19 booster shot access to all residents. That’s according to various industry leaders in the state.  

Hochul announced the new requirement over the holiday weekend and it’s believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. “We’ve got to do everything we can to protect New Yorkers. That means making sure everyone is able to get a booster,” she said via Twitter. It’s unclear when the requirement will go into effect. 

Most providers don’t foresee any problems with following the governor’s latest directive to offer boosters, said James Clyne Jr., president and CEO of LeadingAge New York. 

“As long as the state is reasonable on survey and enforcement, this directive shouldn’t be a problem,” he told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Monday. “Many members had already started the booster process as soon as the federal government approved boosters.” 

Providers have actually been working with the state’s Department of Health and Hochul’s administration on boosters for about the last month and a majority of providers are proactively rolling out booster shots to residents, as well as working with their respective pharmacies on administering the doses, added Stephen Hanse, president and CEO of the New York State Health Care Facilities Association. 

“Given the staffing crisis these days, nothing is easy,” Hanse told McKnight’s Monday. “The staffing crisis in New York is truly at a crisis level, but even with the crisis our providers in New York have been working with pharmacies to have them come in to administer booster shots to those residents who want it. It’s an ongoing initiative [and] an ongoing education effort.” 

Even with this latest directive, Hanse added that the biggest challenges for providers in the state will remain the staffing crisis and New York’s Medicaid shortfall. 

“All these issues can’t be dealt with in silos,” he said. “The vaccination efforts, the Medicaid reimbursement, the staffing, they’re all related because at the end of the day it’s all about providing essential care to the most vulnerable and it all comes down to people.”