CLIFTON PARK — Ellis Medicine will suspend round-the-clock patient care at its Medical Center of Clifton Park. Effective Monday, emergent care services will be only be available from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.
The move is prompted by lack of staff to provide the 24/7/365 emergency care at the large Sitterly Road facility.
The workforce shortage has been worsening throughout the healthcare industry during the two-year COVID pandemic as employees burn out, take a break or retire, and will not be resolved anytime soon.
For that reason, Ellis has no target date for resuming round-the-clock care and no expectation that it will happen in the immediate future. But it does consider the cutback temporary, and says it will return to full hours as soon as possible.
A spokesman for Schenectady-based Ellis Medicine said Thursday it did not worsen the shortage at Clifton Park by moving staff from there to other facilities. It needs more personnel at all of its locations, and in most of its job descriptions, from clerks to nurses to management.
On Thursday, the Ellis career website indicated 409 full- and part-time openings at Ellis Hospital, 66 at the McClellan Street Health Center, 39 at Bellevue Woman’s Hospital and 20 at Clifton Park, plus three to seven each at six other offices.
The greatest number of openings — 199 — are for registered nurses.
Other Capital Region hospitals are in the same predicament and some have curtailed operations at satellite facilities to compensate. Many have resorted to hiring bonuses, some in excess of $20,000.
Sixteen miles north of Ellis’ Clifton Park facility, Saratoga Hospital has more than 200 job openings posted. Albany Med’s job board shows more than 1,500 job openings and St. Mary’s Healthcare is advertising 165.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed a $10 billion package of retention, recruitment and training efforts to boost the ranks of healthcare personnel working in New York. If it works as she envisions, it would increase the workforce by 20%, but would take five years to reach that goal.
In the meantime, Ellis says it will continue and press its own recruiting efforts.