Senator Anthony M. Bucco said group homes and long-term care facilities are almost certain to face a staffing crisis resulting from a new executive order by Governor Phil Murphy.
Sen. Anthony M. Bucco said group homes and long-term care facilities are almost certain to face a staffing crisis resulting from a new executive order by Gov. Phil Murphy. (Pixabay)
“Nursing homes, group homes, and veterans homes are already struggling to find enough skilled staff to care for New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents,” said Bucco (R-25). “By eliminating the testing alternative to vaccination for workers in these settings, Governor Murphy is virtually guaranteeing that residents will face a shortage of caregivers. That will lead to unnecessary tragedies in facilities that have already sustained thousands of deaths during the pandemic.”
Governor Murphy announced Executive Order No. 283 today, which requires workers at health care facilities and high-risk congregate settings to be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations and mandatory boosters.
All covered workers will be required to be vaccinated and boosted and will no longer be permitted to submit to testing as an alternative to vaccination, except in limited situations.
“With the high transmissibility of Omicron among the vaccinated, testing workers makes more sense than vaccination to keep LTC residents safe,” said Bucco. “I don’t understand why Governor Murphy would eliminate the option that appears to be the most dependable. It’s crazy.”
Bucco said residents in group homes and other congregate care facilities often have few options when the level of care deteriorates or their facility closes.
“I have spoken to the operators of a number of facilities and the families of residents and they all are extremely concerned about maintaining staffing levels and the quality of care,” said Bucco. “What’s Governor Murphy’s plan for backfilling critical positions when nursing and veterans home workers who have concerns about the vaccine are fired? He better have an answer before he enforces another potentially disastrous order.”
At the start of the pandemic, the Murphy administration issued orders forcing nursing homes, veterans homes, and other long-term care facilities to accept COVID patients, long before vaccines or therapeutics were available.
The outbreaks resulting from those directives led to thousands of deaths, including hundreds at State-run veterans homes.
In the trauma of the aftermath, long-term care facilities lost qualified staff that they have struggled to replace.