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ECMC pauses inpatient elective surgeries, ICU transfers due to possible shortages over vaccine mandate

All healthcare workers at hospitals & long-term care facilities across New York will be required to have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Erie County Medical Center is pausing inpatient elective surgeries and ICU transfers due to possible staffing shortages due to the NYS's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. 

The story was first reported by Tracey Drury, a reporter at Business First

All healthcare workers at hospitals and long-term care facilities across New York will be required to have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by September 27.

Peter Cutler, VP of Communications & External Affairs for ECMC, tells 2 On Your Side they anticipate approximately 10% of their workforce (approximately 400 staff) will not be vaccinated by the September 27 deadline. Between ECMC employees and medical staff, they have approximately 85% vaccinated.

This is on top of staffing shortages already caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Due to long wait times for the Emergency Room, hospital officials are urging patients to seek treatment at urgent care centers or telehealth. 

In addition to pausing elective surgeries and ICU transfers, ECMC is making other changes including: 

  • Terrace View Long Term Care, the hospital's long-term care facility, is not accepting new patients
  • reducing hours at outpatient clinics
  • Reducing their patient menu from 20 items to three.

Chief Operating Officer Andy Davis tells Business First that their hospital is at near capacity with 553 of their 600 beds filled. 

“It’s hard to discharge people out of the facility since the nursing homes and groups homes also have shortages,” he said. “We have about 30 patients (requiring) alternative levels of care. They shouldn’t be in our setting, but have placement issues and can’t go other places, so that’s causing this backlog, as well as the mandate coming up,” Davis said in the article. 

There's no word on how long that change will last.  It will depend on the number of staff that chooses to get vaccinated.