19 healthcare organizations suspending COVID-19 vaccination mandates

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Hospitals and health systems are suspending COVID-19 vaccination mandates as legal proceedings are pending over the CMS vaccination policy for eligible staff at healthcare facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Here are 19 healthcare organizations that are suspending theirs:

Note: This list was updated Jan. 3.

1. Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, S.C., is holding off on requiring staff to be vaccinated, according to The Times and Democrat. David Southerland, president and CEO of the hospital, said RMC will wait until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a final ruling on federal mandates, and "as these various cases resolve, RMC will revisit its policies."

2. Amita Health St. Mary's Hospital Kankakee (Ill.) is temporarily halting its Jan. 4 vaccination mandate deadline, according to the Daily Journal. In a Dec. 17 letter to employees, which was shared with the newspaper, Amita Health said it is temporarily pausing separation of employment in connection with the vaccination policy and that "workforce members who are not fully vaccinated (with or without an exemption) as of Jan. 4, 2022, will be allowed to continue working at this time. Amita Health continues to strongly encourage associates to be vaccinated."

3. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La., has paused its vaccination mandate for workers, according to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. The medical center is requiring that new hires be fully vaccinated before their first day of work, and all employees must continue observing masking requirements, the publication reported.

4. Augusta (Ga.) University Health has suspended the vaccination deadline for employees, according to The Augusta Chronicle. In a Dec. 8 announcement cited by the newspaper, Augusta University President Brooks Keel, PhD, said the vaccination deadlines have been suspended for both AU Health and Augusta University employees, although he encouraged healthcare workers to still seek a religious/disability/medical accommodation or exemption as needed.

5. Midland (Texas) Memorial Hospital has suspended vaccination requirements for healthcare workers, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram. Midland Health President and CEO Russell Meyers told the newspaper that hospital officials had "considered over 250 exemption requests that were allowable under the [CMS] mandate and granted the vast majority of those, so many of our employees would have been exempted had the mandate continued forward." 

6. Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine has paused its vaccination mandate for union employees, including nurses, according to ABC affiliate WXYZ. In a statement shared with the news station, the health system said it paused enforcement of the vaccination mandate for union employees considering the nationwide injunction prohibiting enforcement of the CMS regulations.

7. Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas, is pausing efforts to comply with the CMS vaccination requirement, Mike Olson, the hospital's CEO, said in a press release cited by the Victoria Advocate. As of Dec. 2, Citizens reported that 85 percent of employees were fully vaccinated, according to the newspaper.

8. DeTar Healthcare System, a two-hospital system based in Victoria, Texas, paused the vaccination requirement for staff, although a majority of employees were already vaccinated as of Dec. 3, Judith Barefield, spokesperson for the health system, said in a statement cited by the Victoria Advocate. Ms. Barefield added, "We continue to strongly encourage vaccination since it offers the most protection from COVID-19 and emerging new variants."

9. In a statement shared with Becker's, Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based AdventHealth said the health system is suspending vaccination requirements prescribed by the CMS mandate. The health system, which has more than 80,000 employees, according to its website, said it will continue to monitor ongoing litigation regarding the federal law.  

10. As of Dec. 1, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare will not enforce the CMS vaccination requirement for individuals working in its facilities, the for-profit hospital operator told staff in a letter shared with Becker's. Tenet said workers who are in a state that has previously issued a vaccination mandate must continue to follow the state or local requirement. The company continues to encourage vaccination and will continue accepting exemption requests.

11. With a temporary block of the mandate in place, come Jan. 4, unless there is further legal action, employees of Cleveland-based University Hospitals may continue to provide patient care services regardless of their vaccination status, according to a statement shared with Becker's Dec. 2. University Hospitals said vaccination is not a condition of employment at this time, but the health system continues asking workers to get vaccinated or to seek an accommodation.  

12. Cleveland Clinic announced Dec. 2 that it is pausing the implementation of the health system's vaccination policy, which required employees and those who provide services with the health system to receive the vaccine or an approved exemption with accommodations. The health system said it will have additional safety requirements for unvaccinated workers, including periodic testing for those providing direct clinical care.

13. Dover, Del.-based Bayhealth is pausing a vaccination requirement in light of the federal injunction, according to Delaware Online/The News Journal. Shana Ross, vice president of human resources, said the health system will no longer require vaccination as a condition of employment, but will continue following Delaware's directive of healthcare workers either receiving the shot or undergoing regular testing, according to an email to staff shared with the newspaper.

14. Lewes, Del.-based Beebe Healthcare said in a statement shared with Delaware Online/The News Journal that it was pausing its mandate. The organization said it will require unvaccinated workers to undergo regular testing.

15. Greenville, S.C.-based Prisma Health is suspending its COVID-19 team member vaccination requirement because of the temporary halt of the CMS mandate, Sandy Dees, media relations coordinator at the health system, told Becker's

16. Intermountain Healthcare told Becker's the Salt Lake City-based health system has temporarily paused enforcement of its vaccination requirement as it awaits the outcome of national litigation regarding federal requirements. 

17. Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare is pausing its COVID-19 vaccination mandate amid recent federal court decisions, except for states that have their own mandates, according to a statement shared with Becker's. The pause affects all states in which HCA operates, except California and Colorado.

18. St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Idaho, has paused its employee vaccination requirement after the temporary stop of federal requirements, according to The Lewiston Tribune.  

19. Johnson City, Tenn.-based Ballad Health has suspended the vaccination requirement for its employees after federal court decisions, according to local news source WJHL

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