Will vaccine mandates cause a 'bottleneck' in healthcare? 3 hospital CEOs weigh in

Hannah Mitchell - Print  | 

Three hospital CEOs shared how they are preparing for workforce shortages induced by COVID-19 vaccine mandates and how the healthcare industry will be affected by a potential exodus, according to a Sept. 10 report by CBS and Fox affiliate WAGM 8.

Kris Doody, RN, CEO of Caribou, Maine-based Cary Medical Center, told the publication that it's more concerning that their unvaccinated healthcare workers would pick termination over getting the vaccine. The hospital is examining whether it will need to modify services if there's an exodus of employees when the vaccine mandate deadline rolls around. Ms. Doody thinks there is still a chance employees who said they will not get vaccinated may change their minds because of rising COVID-19 cases.

The CEO said, for example, that at a local nursing home, where 100 percent of residents were vaccinated, an unvaccinated employee brought the virus into the facility.

"It saved a number of people in that nursing home, but it goes to show there’s still some concern for those healthcare providers who are not vaccinated, what they can do to a population," Ms. Doody said.

Peter Sirois, the president and CEO of Fort Kent-based Northern Maine Medical Center, said he agreed with Ms. Doody. He said unvaccinated employees are seeing rising COVID-19 cases, and he thinks it could change healthcare workers' willingness to get inoculated.

Shawn Anderson, CEO of Houlton (Maine) Regional Hospital, said the healthcare industry is going to feel the effects of unvaccinated employees who may have to leave the healthcare workforce. Mr. Anderson said that at some point, hospitals will have to "make some very difficult decisions about the delivery of care and indeed experience, what we think will probably be a bottleneck in healthcare."

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