Using the executive authority granted in Executive Order 202.10, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) is temporarily suspending State regulations pertaining to the physical examination and assessment, and immunization documentation requirements for temporary health care workers. DOH issued the attached guidance, and effective immediately, the following sections of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations are modified to allow hospitals to supplement their staffing to treat patients affected with COVID-19 and other patients as follows:
- The requirement for a physical examination and recorded medical history for all personnel is modified to allow volunteers and personnel affiliated with other hospitals, in lieu of a physical examination, to submit a written health status self-assessment to the hospitals where they volunteer. This assessment must include an attestation that the applicant has no health impairment that would pose a potential risk to patients, or which might interfere with the performance of his/her duties, including the habituation or addiction to depressants, stimulants, narcotics, alcohol, or other drugs or substances that may alter the individual’s behavior.
- The requirement for a “certificate of immunization against rubella” is modified to require the following evidence of immunity: a document prepared by a physician, physician’s assistant (PA), specialist assistant, nurse practitioner (NP), licensed midwife, or a laboratory demonstrating serologic evidence of rubella antibodies. Testing for rubella antibodies will be performed by the hospital, at no cost to the applicant.
- The requirement for a “certificate of immunization against measles” is modified to require, for all personnel born on or after January 1, 1957, the following evidence of immunity: a document prepared by a physician, PA, specialist assistant, NP, licensed midwife, or a laboratory demonstrating serologic evidence of measles antibodies. Testing for measles antibodies will be performed by the hospital, at no cost to the applicant.
- The requirement for all personnel with clinical or patient care contact, prior to employment or affiliation, to undergo a tuberculin skin test or Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved blood assay for the detection of latent tuberculosis infection is modified to require a health status self-assessment of all applicants with past evidence of tuberculosis infection or positive tuberculin skin test, to follow with an FDA-approved blood assay for the detection of latent TB infection.
Of note, the requirement for current vaccination against influenza is not waived due to similarities in the symptoms between COVID-19 and influenza.
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