NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is feeling the impact of the statewide vaccine mandate for healthcare and long-term care facility workers.
With less than one week to go until the deadline, staffing shortages are increasingly causing becoming more challenging.
NFMMC is already tight for space. CEO Joe Ruffolo tells 2 On Your Side, "every health system, including us, has had a significant staffing shortage prior to the vaccine mandates so obviously the vaccine mandate just made matters worse."
Right now the hospital is 90 percent vaccinated.
"The other 10 percent, it's up in the air in terms of how many of them will get vaccinated Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday," Ruffolo says. "Fortunately, we have been devoting a significant amount of time to identifying the specific individuals who were on the fence to be vaccinated. And meeting with them one on one and two on two."
Ruffolo and his team are also using these last few days to triple the number of vaccine clinics to make it easier for employees to get vaccinated.
Unlike other hospitals, including Erie County Medical Center, NFMMC has not suspended any services due to staffing shortages and is hopeful that will not happen.
"Certainly all of our services have been very stressed with very high demand and lots of patients. But so far with the dedication of the staff, we're managing," Ruffolo says.
Ruffolo anticipates more departures within the next week but hopes instead to see more employees opt for the vaccine.
"We are very much pro-vaccine. I mean, the vaccine we know has been very effective," Ruffalo says.
But only time will tell.