Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

November 7, 2013

New state regulations impact health care facilities

By Laurie Haight
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Two new laws have recently impacted hospitals across New York state.

New York state law now restricts smoking on all hospital campuses. Locally, Eastern Niagara Hospital will comply, along with all other health care facilities. The law prohibits smoking on and near the grounds of hospitals and nursing homes, except for designated areas on the grounds of a nursing home that meet certain requirements. The smoking ban will also apply to Eastern Niagara Hospital’s off-site/extension clinics, located at 5875 Transit Road and 64 Davison Court in Lockport.

Signs reflecting this change has now been placed at all facilities. The hospital asks that all visitors please comply with this new regulation.

The other law impacting hospital at this time is the New York State Department of Health mandate that employees, volunteers and members of each hospital’s medical staff who work in patient care areas, receive a flu vaccination or wear a mask. Those individuals you see wearing a mask have chosen not to receive the vaccine. This requirement will be in effect from the present to the end of the flu season — which will be determined by the Commissioner of Health. If you go to a health care facility and see some employees wearing masks, don’t be alarmed. This is simply an effort to prevent the spread of influenza.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu epidemics happen every year, but the severity and timing of flu seasons are unpredictable. Often, flu activity in January or February, however, it can begin as early as October and continue into May. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

Flu vaccines are now available at Eastern Niagara Hospital’s Express Care, 5875 Transit Road, Lockport. The vaccines are $20 or may be covered by insurance. Express Care is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Laurie Haight, RN, is the infection control coordinator for Eastern Niagara Hospital. Eastern Niagara HealthLines is a special feature to the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal by the Eastern Niagara Health System. For more information, contact ENHS community relations at 514-5505.