Stanfield: Murphy booster mandate will harm most vulnerable
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. – State Senator Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton) is sounding the alarm about dangerous workforce shortages in the healthcare industry brought on by the latest heavy-handed COVID directive from Governor Murphy.
Health care providers statewide are grappling with another unwelcome mandate from the Governor’s Office, this time requiring they fire employees who have not yet received the COVID booster shot.
“This mandate will have the exact opposite effect of health and safety. Let’s not parse words; people will suffer due to the lack of care brought on by staff shortages.”
The mandate comes in spite of the fact boosters have shown to be largely ineffective at preventing new infections in the face of an unprecedented Omicron spike that has already subsided.
Stanfield remarked that while the data is iffy on the benefits of a Covid booster in controlling the spread of the virus, its negative impact on staffing and quality of life on health care workers is clear.
“For two years now, we’ve been told by this Governor that if we follow the science and act conscientiously, our state will return to normal. Now it’s his turn to listen to the experts and relieve our front-line workers of this harmful mandate before more small care providers, assisted living facilities and group homes are forced to close,” Stanfield said.
“New Jersey’s high taxes and assessments already make it difficult for owners of a small business to survive in a good year, let alone in one of the worst business years any of us can remember. Now this mandate adds insult to injury for the caregivers who have diligently served those most disparately impacted by this pandemic – the elderly and the disabled,” Stanfield continued.
The Senator already heard testimony from one home healthcare provider who is seeing a direct impact on her clients. Marjorie Mushinski owns Home Choice Health Care, LLC., a Mount Holly-based business that provides compassionate and personalized at-home care, allowing elderly clients to age in place.
“Our patients — who depend on home care services to remain independent in their later years — are the ones hurt most by this. We’ve had to turn away so many requests for care because of the workforce shortage and the fact that we will lose nearly a third of our employees due to Murphy’s mandate,” Mushinski said.
Mushinski’s agency is not alone. Only 41 percent of eligible New Jersey residents have gotten the booster, which would lead to massive worker shortages if expanded to the general workforce.
“We had no outreach from the Governor’s Office or the Department of Health prior to this policy shift, which would require our agency to terminate employees who have worked the entire pandemic to provide care to our clients. With this Executive Order, the problem could be three-fold. Patients will not be receiving care, family members will have to adjust work schedules or quit their jobs, and caregivers will be out of work and unable to provide for their families,” Mushinski said.