In response to the healthcare workforce shortage that has been made all the worse by the vaccination mandate, New York Governor Hochul has signed an Executive Order that, in part, expands the scope of practice for New York healthcare professionals and allows some providers to engage professionals from other states and un-registered but licensed New York nurses and LPNs. Here, we discuss the key elements of the EO, as relevant to home care.
As a preliminary matter, the EO is generally geared towards alleviating the hospital and nursing home staffing shortages, not home care. Perhaps because the deadline for vaccinating hospital and nursing home workers was September 27, the EO’s primary beneficiaries are hospitals and nursing homes. In anticipation of the October 7 deadline for home care’s own vaccination mandate, it will be critically important for the Governor to adopt measures (such as a new EO) that will alleviate LHCSA’s workforce shortages.
The Governor’s EO establishes the following, as relevant to home care providers:
1. Registered nurses, license practical nurses, and nurse practitioners licensed and in good standing in any state may practice in New York State.
2. Un-registered but licensed New York nurses, LPNs and NPs, may practice in New York, so long as they are in good standing.
3. Graduates of nursing and LPN programs in New York State may be employed to practice nursing under the supervision of a RN in a hospital or a nursing home for 180 days immediately following their graduation. A provision like this would have been particularly helpful for home care also, but there is no indication in the EO that this “recent graduate” provision extends to home care.
4. Nursing homes are authorized to “discharge, transfer or receive” patients if necessary due to staffing shortages. This may be helpful to LHCSAs that will be required to discharge patients that they cannot serve due to workforce shortages.
5. Allows MLTCs to suspend pre-authorization reviews for admission to home care following a hospital admission, to the extent necessary to increase availability of healthcare staff.
Providers should take note of these, welcome, provisions but advocate for further relief from the Governor, as the October 7 deadline approaches.