New York hospital temporarily closes ED over staffing shortages

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Mount Sinai South Nassau said it is temporarily closing the freestanding Long Beach (N.Y.) Emergency Department beginning Nov. 22 because of nursing staff shortages caused by the state COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

The temporary closure is scheduled to last up to four weeks and could be extended based on staff availability, according to a news release. Patients in need of emergency care will be directed to the hospital's main campus in Oceanside, N.Y.

Representatives with the hospital said the decision was made after exhausting all other options.

"We regret having to take this step, but the safety of our patients is always our No. 1 priority," Mount Sinai South Nassau President Adhi Sharma, MD, said in a news release. "This will allow us to shift nursing staff to the Oceanside campus to ensure that we maintain adequate staffing at the emergency department at our main campus."

The hospital attributed the temporary emergency department closure and staffing shortage to Mount Sinai South Nassau's compliance with the New York State Department of Health's mandate requiring the suspension of all staff working under temporary religious exemptions who could not show proof by Nov. 22 of receiving a first COVID-19 vaccination dose or a valid medical exemption.

Mount Sinai South Nassau reported that more than 99 percent of its staff are fully vaccinated, excluding those who sought religious or medical exemptions. The hospital said it is actively recruiting experienced and qualified staff who can document either a first shot or a valid medical exemption so the Long Beach Emergency Department can reopen on or about Dec. 15.

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