COVID-19 vaccination mandate for Freeman employees

Vaccination Mandate For Freeman Employees
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JOPLIN, Mo. – Freeman Health System mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for employees ahead of a federal requirement deadline.

Freeman CEO Paula Baker confirmed the hospital’s decision to require employee vaccinations by January 4th, following a briefing update on COVID-19 and the flu season.

In September, President Biden announced workers at all of the nation’s medical facilities would be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Last week, the Administration announced the deadline for vaccinations as January 4th.

“Facilities covered by this regulation must establish a policy ensuring all eligible staff have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to providing any care, treatment, or other services by December 6, 2021. All eligible staff must have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4, 2022.” – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The CMS regulation does provide for exemptions, including medical conditions and religious beliefs, observances or practices.

If a provider or supplier under CMS does not meet these requirements, they are citing those organizations.

“Q: How do the penalties work/are providers immediately denied payment?
A: Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities are expected to comply with all regulatory requirements, and CMS has a variety of established enforcement remedies. For nursing homes,
home health agencies, and hospice (beginning in 2022), this includes civil monetary penalties, denial of payment, and even termination from the Medicare and Medicaid program as a final measure.

The remedy for non-compliance among hospitals and certain other acute and continuing care providers is termination; however, CMS’s goal is to bring health care facilities into compliance. Termination would generally occur only after providing a facility with an opportunity to make corrections and come into compliance.”

CMS has released documents for anyone with more questions on the requirements for health care workers under federal administration’s rules.  You can read more of the FAQ Sheet here.

CMS Omnibus Staff Vax Requirements - External FAQ (508 Compliant)

Related Article: Appeals court stays vaccine mandate on larger businesses

FLU and COVID-19

During Freeman’s briefing update today, Nov. 10, 2021, a health official spoke about the interrelationship between the flu and Covid-19. They understand there is anxiety surrounding the combination.

Jessica Liberty, a Freeman infection prevention manager, says there was a significant reduction of flu cases last year. She accented the importance of safety measures like social distancing, staying home when sick, washing hands and masking up.

Compared to the flu season so far this year, compared to last year, they have seen a 25% Missouri-wide increase of flu cases.

Having the flue and Covid at the same time is a possibility. Liberty says breakthrough cases do happen. However, she adds that if you get the vaccines, the duration of the illness will be shorter and milder.

Health officials at Freeman pushed the importance of getting the flu shot before the end of November.

Jessica Liberty says you can get both shots at the same time in opposing arms unless your medical provider says otherwise. She says those vaccines can reduce the severity of illnesses, or, protect you altogether.

Freeman says they have been proactive about testing for both the flu and Covid.