Hospital CEOs share how prepared they are for staffing shortages at the end of October

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 7:03 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -With the vaccine mandate deadline quickly approaching, hospitals are preparing for losing some staff. WAGM continues our series with the four local hospital CEOs by asking how prepared they are for this upcoming deadline.

Kris Doody, the CEO of Cary Medical Center says, “It’s more concerning about our, our healthcare workers that are not vaccinated and choose not to. We are setting ourselves up for what we need to do. If we need to look at modifying some of our services, we will. Part of our responsibility as healthcare providers are to protect our patients and protect our community. And part of doing that is getting vaccinated. So we will do what we have to. And we are seeing a number of our employees that said they were not going to get vaccinated are going to. I think some of the numbers that we’ve recently heard in Aroostook county are impacting their view on whether or not they should get vaccinated. They’re seeing a lot more positives getting admitted to the hospital. So I think it is changing some people’s view and, and frankly, it’s the way that we need to get this under control and make sure people are protected.”

Peter Sirois of the Northern Maine Medical Center says, “Yes. I think they’re seeing also Kris, that the Delta variant is a lot more volatile. Our medical staff has shared with us that the people are coming in with COVID now are a lot sicker than they were last year. It spreads a lot easier. We find it to be more severe and I think people are seeing that it’s more contagious. And I think maybe it’ll change people’s minds that as this grows and mutates, that it is more serious than it was a year ago.”

Kris Doody adds, “Yeah, absolutely.”

Shawn Anderson, the CEO of Houlton Regional Hospital says, “Unfortunately you know, we, as hospitals are but one pretty significant cog in the wheel, but healthcare in general as a whole is going to feel the impact of unvaccinated healthcare workers, who, unfortunately may choose to leave the healthcare workforce. We control the scenario for emergency care and for acute care, in some cases long-term care, but when patients leave the hospital and need to be cared for by home care agencies, those agencies are feeling the impact of staffing shortages. Nursing homes are feeling that impact as we all well know it’s clearly in the news, assisted living facilities and on and on it goes. At some point that will, unfortunately, as Kris alluded to will force us to make some very difficult decisions about the delivery of care and indeed experience, what we think will probably be a bottleneck in healthcare. "

Kris Doody adds, “And a number of us were on a call about a week or so ago and a hospital CEO in central Maine described, in fact she was positive for COVID and she was quite ill. But she shared with us that her local nursing home where 100% of the residents are vaccinated a number of them tested positive because a healthcare worker who was not vaccinated actually brought it to the nursing home and some residents actually tested positive, but fortunately, because they were vaccinated, they weren’t symptomatic or they weren’t very ill. So it saved a number of people in that nursing home, but it goes to show, you know, there’s still some concern for those healthcare providers who are not vaccinated, what they can do to a population.”

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