NY New Flu Shot Regulations
September 18, 2013
ELMIRA -- (WENY) Over at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira staff are preparing for a new change. A statewide requirement asking all medical staff to get the flu vaccine. If they don't they'll have to wear a face mask when at work during the flu season. It affects employees, phycisians, mid level providers, vendors, and volunteers.
"We wouldn't want someone who may not have direct patient care but has lunch with some one who does spreading the flu either to them and onto the patients or from our patients then on to them and theoretically take it home to their families," said Dr. William Huffner, Chief Medical Officer.
Arnot Health is taking the New York Health Department's rule a little further.
If their staff doesn't comply with the new requirement it could lead to their termination.
"This is a significant, real, patient-employee and employee-family safety issue. That we need to take very seriously," said Dr. Huffner.
In an email we received from a worker who chooses to remain anonymous, Arnot Ogden states, "any Arnot Health personnel who cannot or will not wear a mask within any Arnot Health properties and offices will be unscheduled from work and HR.250 policy will be initiated."
This worker added "I actually have a co-worker with an egg allergy (and there are eggs in all the flu vaccines) and she was told that it does not matter, if she refuses she'll still have to wear a mask. I also wonder how patients will feel seeing employees wearing masks, it seems that it would be a tad unsettling."
Dr. Huffner says the strict rule is just meant to keep people safe.
"An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure," he added.
The new rules go into effect when flu season starts, around October 1st. Arnot is setting up points of distribution to give free flu shots to employees.