Newman Regional Health discusses vaccination efforts ahead of Jan. 4 federal vaccine mandate deadline – KVOE

KVOE News file photo.
While Newman Regional Health’s employee vaccination rate is at a good point ahead of the deadline for President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, contingency planning is underway for if the hospital cannot reach the 100 percent rate come Jan. 4.
During an interview on KVOE’s Morning Show Monday, Newman CEO Bob Wright stated the hospital is just over 80 percent towards full employee vaccinations. Wright says the hospital received the full explanation of the mandate rule last week and it lined up very closely with what their expectations were.
Per the mandate, all healthcare facilities receiving federal funds must have their employees fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. or risk losing all Medicare and Medicaid funds. Wright says a loss of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements would mean a loss in excess of $30 million which Wright says is roughly half of their annual revenue.
Employees are eligible to be excused from receiving a vaccine for one of two reasons according to Wright.
Over the past week, the hospital has been receiving requests for exemptions from staff and will continue to do so through Wednesday according to Wright.
Following Wednesday’s deadline, the hospital will begin issuing approvals, requests for additional information or denials with an opportunity for appeal within seven days.
While Wright feels they are on a good path towards full compliance, he says the hospital has begun to “put out feelers” for new staff in the event that they lose employees over the course of the next two months.
The healthcare portion of the mandate is separate from a mandate affecting businesses with at least 100 employees to have all staff vaccinated by the deadline or face $14,000 in fines per infraction. That portion of the mandate is enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and was suspended after a federal appeals court ruling in Louisiana Saturday.

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