BayCare CEO voices concern over fallout from Biden's large employer vaccine mandate

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Tommy Inzina, the CEO of Tampa Bay, Fla.-based BayCare, wrote a letter to the community expressing his concern over how a vaccine mandate will affect hospital staffing following President Joe Biden's announcement that all employers with more than 100 employees will have to require vaccines for their staff or require weekly COVID-19 testing, according to a Sept. 9 report by Tampa Bay 10.

Seven takeaways:

  1. Mr. Inzina said the mandate will create hardships for his system, which employs more than 28,000 employees. Nearly half (44 percent) of BayCare's staff opted out of getting vaccinated.

  2. Mr. Inzina said he encourages his staff to get vaccinated to limit the spread of COVID-19 within employees' families and maintain a healthy workforce. However, workforce challenges make it difficult to risk losing staff.

  3. "This onslaught of patients comes as our industry’s workforce is already stretched from the crisis," Mr. Inzina said. "Every local hospital leader would tell you the same thing: It is the most severe staffing challenges we have seen in our lifetimes and relief is not yet in sight."

  4. A vaccine mandate could create a negative effect on healthcare access in Central Florida, where his hospitals are based, according to Mr. Inzina.

  5. "In recent months, as our hospitals filled with record numbers of sick patients, we knew we risked alienating a not-insignificant number of our team members," he said. "If even a small fraction of our non-vaccinated team members choose to exit the workforce rather than get vaccinated, we’d have even fewer team members to take care of patients, COVID or otherwise."

  6. According to Mr. Inzina, if employees chose to depart, it could have a direct effect on patient care. With fewer nurses, each nurse will have to take on more patients. With less staff, wait times at the emergency room will be longer. A smaller team means each test result will take longer to read.

  7. Mr. Inzina emphasized that regardless of the added challenges, BayCare will comply with the vaccine mandate on the timeline given by the federal government.

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