Hospital officials continue to have staffing concerns

Local News

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — During Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing, local hospitals officials said they have concerns when it comes to their staff.

BSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Lamanteer, said Regional Advisory Council (RAC) staff is “dwindling down” throughout the month; their help is needed in harder-hit areas.

“We’re going to continue to do what we need to do to try to retain our nursing staff, and try to make sure that we have enough nursing to manage the patients that we have,” said Lamanteer.

Dr. Lamanteer said BSA is contracting with more than 100 contract nurses, and without that contingent force of nurses and support staff, they wouldn’t be able to run their hospital.

Northwest’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brian Weis, said they are in a similar situation.

“We have 22 members of our staff right now in quarantine,” said Weis. “We will be losing all of our traveling nurses by the first week of December. So again, that continues to be a challenge as we lose employees.”

The Biden Administration issued an emergency regulation this month, requiring vaccinations for health care workers. The regulation comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), not OSHA.

“They have not given us an option. They’re saying that our employees must be vaccinated or have filed for legitimate exemption,” said Dr. Weis.

Dr. Weis said they are doing their best to comply with that mandate and accommodate their employees at the same time, but that does not always satisfy everyone.

“There was always that chance that some people would choose, you know, to move on to another job if they don’t think we can accommodate them appropriately,” said. Dr. Weis.

A coalition of 10 states sued the federal government on Wednesday to try to block the vaccine requirement for health care workers. The lawsuit filed in a federal court in Missouri contends that the vaccine requirement threatens the jobs of millions of health care workers and could “exacerbate an alarming shortage” in health care fields, particularly in rural areas where some health workers have been hesitant to get the shots.

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