Biden, health execs to meet on vaccination strategies

President Joe Biden will meet Sept. 15 with the CEOs of Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and other companies about his plan to fight the pandemic, including vaccination mandates, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A White House official told the newspaper participants are expected to focus on how they are expanding requirements and how mandates have boosted employee vaccination rates.

The White House official said Greg Adams, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, and Madeline Bell, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, are expected to attend the meeting, as well as executives from Walt Disney, Microsoft and Walgreens Boots Alliance.

The meeting comes days after President Biden announced that his administration's multipronged pandemic approach will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their staff are fully vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

The administration also is requiring federal executive branch workers and employees of contractors that do business with the federal government to be vaccinated, with limited medical and religious exemptions. 

Additionally, CMS will require COVID-19 vaccinations for more than 17 million healthcare workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-participating hospitals and in other healthcare settings.

Citing their desire to protect patients, visitors, colleagues and communities, hospitals and health systems across the U.S. have announced COVID-19 vaccination requirements for employees. But protests organized by people who oppose mandatory vaccinations have emerged, and hospitals have expressed concerns about potential unintended consequences of the mandates announced by President Biden, such as their exacerbating workforce shortages.

Some healthcare organizations have already seen staff resign because of vaccine mandates, including Lowville, N.Y.-based Lewis County Health System, which announced in September that it will temporarily close its maternity unit after 30 people resigned because of New York's vaccine mandate. 

In Texas, at Houston Methodist, 153 employees either resigned during a two-week suspension period or were terminated June 22 for noncompliance with the system's mandate. Most recently, 11 Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital workers resigned because of the state's mandate requiring COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers.

Healthcare organizations that have held off on mandates said they are waiting on more details about President Biden's plan and anticipate implementing requirements to comply. 

Read the full Wall Street Journal report here.

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