by Dave Muoio | December 28, 2021
The past several months have seen thousands of hospitals announce COVID-19 vaccination requirements for staff and clinicians as a condition of employment.
Although controversial, the policies picked up steam when Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty received a full regulatory approval. Mandate announcements really kicked into gear when the Biden administration made workforce vaccination a requirement for Medicare and Medicaid participation (despite the federal policy currently hanging in the balance of a Supreme Court decision across roughly half the country).
Most health system leaders and professional organizations have been supportive of the requirement, with some describing vaccination as “the logical fulfillment of the ethical commitment of all healthcare workers to put patients as well as residents of long-term care facilities first.”
However, some executives and industry figures have warned that mandates might place provider organizations in a bind as disgruntled employees choose to walk away rather than comply.
“As a practical matter, this policy may result in exacerbating the severe workforce shortage problems that currently exist,” American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack said in a Sept. 9 statement.
Arkansas’ Community Hospital Executive Director James Magee said Sept. 22 that his 25-bed rural facility would not require COVID-19 vaccinations. He stressed that staffing issues and the fear of losing too many nurses were major factors in the decision.