Blog
Oct 13
A COVID-19 Update: Overcoming the Latest Challenges Together

More than 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to face unprecedented challenges. Near the top of our list right now are staffing shortages across the board, in nearly every department in every hospital in our region. At Saratoga Hospital, we're seeing the impact in our Emergency Department, Urgent Care Centers, Surgery Center, and many other locations.

These shortages have received a lot of news coverage lately because of the recent deadline for New York State healthcare workers to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or, without an approved exemption, face the prospect of losing their jobs.

I am proud that 97% of Saratoga Hospital employees have either met the vaccination requirement, or been approved for medical exemptions. Also included in that number are some staff who received religious accommodations.

It's important to note that the high vaccination rate does not paint a complete picture. The bottom line is that we lost employees at a time when we had many staff openings because of COVID-19.

The pandemic has taken an extraordinary toll on healthcare workers, prompting many to retire, change fields, or simply take a break. At the same time, the number of patients seeking care is reaching record levels. In other words, we're being asked to do more with less.

Despite these challenges, Saratoga Hospital will do what we've always done. We will meet the needs of our community by providing excellent healthcare and fulfilling our promise of "people you trust, care you deserve."

There might be days when we have to make adjustments to focus on patients with the most critical needs. On those days, we will ask for your patience if you're coming to us for routine care or an elective procedure. But if you're injured, in pain, or have symptoms that concern you, turn to us just as you always have. Don't take the risk of waiting to seek care.

We're taking significant steps in response to these staffing shortages:

  • Identifying licensed staff who work in nonclinical areas and temporarily reassigning these employees to assist with bedside care.
  • Continually reviewing our elective surgery schedule and our capacity to accept transfer patients and making adjustments as needed.
  • Recruiting for open positions via ads, virtual and on-site events, and other efforts.
  • Reaching out to nursing students who will be graduating in December.
  • Talking with retired healthcare workers in our community who might be interested in joining our team.
  • Offering sign-on bonuses for new employees and referral payments to existing staff.
  • Addressing compensation in many areas to ensure competitive salaries. 

You can help, too.

  • If you're a retired healthcare worker, consider returning to the work force. It does not have to be full time.
  • Know someone looking for full- or part-time work, including after school? Send them our way. We have openings in most departments.
  • Be patient. We're doing everything we can to minimize inconvenience while we tend first to our sickest patients.
  • Get vaccinated and wear your mask to help reduce the spread of this deadly virus.
  • Take care of yourself and one another.

From the beginning of this pandemic, we've said we're in this together. That's how we've gotten through our worst days and how we'll continue to overcome new challenges as they emerge. As always, we strive to be your partners in good health.

Your support means the world to us. Thank you for providing it yet again.


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