Cincinnati area hospital systems sued again over vaccine mandates

Lawsuits filed by workers to block COVID-19 vaccination requirements at six hospital systems in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky have been refiled.

Forty employees of Edgewood, Ky.-based St. Elizabeth Healthcare sued the health system and its physicians' group, Summit Medical Group, and nearly 190 employees filed a separate antitrust lawsuit against the Northern Kentucky system and the following Cincinnati-based organizations: UC Health, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, the Christ Hospital Health Network, Bon Secours Mercy Health and TriHealth, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal and Cincinnati Enquirer.

The lawsuits, filed Sept. 3 in federal courts in Covington, Ky., and Cincinnati, come after lawsuits were filed and then voluntarily dismissed against the hospital systems in August. 

At the time of the dismissals, Eric Deters, a spokesperson for Deters Law, told the Enquirer the firm received "15,000 emails from Tristate hospital employees," and that more time is needed to create formal affidavits "in support of the claims."

The lawsuits filed Sept. 3 stem from hospital system vaccine mandates. UC Health, Cincinnati Children's, the Christ Hospital Health Network, TriHealth and St. Elizabeth are requiring their system workforces to be vaccinated. Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health is requiring vaccination in its Cincinnati and Kentucky markets (Irvine, Ky., and Paducah, Ky.).

Hospital systems across the U.S. have announced vaccine mandates, saying the vaccines are safe and effective.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has also said U.S. employers can legally require employees physically entering the workplace to get vaccinated.

But in the Sept. 3 lawsuits, plaintiffs claim mandatory COVID-19 vaccines are "a fraud upon the entire American public," according to the Louisville Courier-Journal and Cincinnati Enquirer.

They also claim vaccines are unproven, experimental, ineffective and could lead to serious side effects, the newspapers reported. Additionally, workers allege they are being "coerced to participate in a medical experiment." 

A spokesperson for St. Elizabeth did not respond to a newspaper request for comment. 

The Ohio and Kentucky hospital associations told Becker's in August they could not comment specifically about lawsuits they are not named in, but continue to support hospitals that require their workers to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

Read the full reports here and here

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