Hospitals Dropping Vax Mandate Due To Labor Shortages, Court Order
On Sunday we noted that hospitals in four states have called in the National Guard to help alleviate a severe healthcare worker shortage caused by mass firings of those who refuse to comply with vaccine mandates.
Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that some of the largest US hospital systems have dropped vaccine mandates for workers amid soaring labor costs and struggles retaining enough nurses, technicians, ‘and even janitors’ to handle higher hospitalization rates due to the Delta variant.
According to hospital execs, public health authorities and nursing groups, pre-pandemic shortages of workers, including nurses, have been compounded by burnout, as well as the lucrative lure of nurses who work on short-term contracts in Covid hot spots.
More recently, thousands of nurses have left the industry or lost their jobs rather than get vaccinated. As of September, 30% of workers at more than 2,000 hospitals across the country surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were unvaccinated.
“It’s been a mass exodus, and a lot of people in the healthcare industry are willing to go and shop around,” according to employment attorney Wade Symons, head of Mercer’s US regulatory practice. “If you get certain healthcare facilities that don’t require it, those could be a magnet for those people who don’t want the vaccine. They’ll probably have an easier time attracting labor.”
In November, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services didn’t have the authority to force healthcare workers to take the jab – blocking a Biden admin rule which would have applied to some 10 million workers and would have required all employees at facilities participating in Medicare / Medicaid take the jab by Jan. 4.
“I don’t think the mandates were helpful and I think the court in Louisiana did everyone a service,” said Ballad Health CEO Alan Levine, who oversees the administration of 21 hospitals in Tennessee and Virginia.
Mr. Levine said his company has about 14,000 employees, some 2,000 of whom are unvaccinated or didn’t request an exemption to the requirement. “That many people having to be terminated would have been devastating to our system,” Mr. Levine said. -WSJ
Meanwhile, one of the country’s largest healthcare providers, HCA, suspended their previous deadline of Jan. 4 for all workers following the court halt.
“We continue to strongly encourage our colleagues to be vaccinated as a critical step to protect individuals from the virus,” said spokesman Harlow Sumerford, who added that a majority of their roughly 275,000 workers were fully vaccinated.
Tenet and AdventHealth also announced that they were waiving the requirement following the court decision, while the Cleveland Clinic – which runs 19 hospitals in Ohio and Florida and employees roughly 65,000 people, along with Utah hospital giant Intermountain Healthcare, said they would similarly suspend the vax requirement.
Mon, 12/13/2021 – 18:40