NewYork-Presbyterian, Community Health Network among latest to require vaccinations for employees

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New York City-based NewYork-Presbyterian and Indianapolis-based Community Health Network will require their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to health system statements.

NewYork-Presbyterian is requiring employees to get vaccinated or obtain a valid exemption for medical reasons, pregnancy or religious reasons.

The health system said all employees, physicians, students, clinical rotators, volunteers and vendors must have received their first dose no later than Sept. 1, and, for two-dose vaccines, workers must complete the vaccination process on the prescribed timeline. Newly hired employees also must follow a vaccination or exemption process.

"We care for sick people — some critically so — every day, and we are responsible for their safety while in our care. The stakes in this matter are high, and the evidence is clear that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most important and responsible action we can take as NYP team members for the safety and well-being of our patients and visitors, our communities and ourselves," wrote NewYork-Presbyterian President and CEO Steven Corwin, MD, in a communication to employees shared with Becker's June 11.

Workers seeking an exemption must apply for one by Aug. 1, and those who are granted exemptions will frequently undergo COVID-19 testing. Dr. Corwin said compliance — either by vaccination or exemption — will be required for workers to keep their employment.

Community Health Network is taking a similar approach, requiring employees to be vaccinated.

"Since the pandemic started, our caregivers have proven time and again to be heroes in the face of daunting and sometimes frightening challenges," Community President and CEO Bryan Mills said in a June 10 news release. "Getting vaccinated is one more step in the collective fight against COVID-19."

Community's 16,000 employees must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 15 unless they receive exemptions for religious or medical reasons. The requirement applies to vendors, contractors and volunteers who work at Community's hospitals and care sites.

While some health systems are mandating vaccines, Northwell Health is not doing so for current team members. However, the New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based health system continues to expand our vaccination program, said Barbara Osborn, vice president of public relations. 

She said Northwell is welcoming back vaccinated volunteers in hospitals, launching a new requirement for students to be vaccinated, and will require vaccinations for newly hired employees. The health system also anticipates launching a requirement that unvaccinated workers receive regular COVID-19 PCR testing.  

"As New York State's largest private employer and healthcare provider, we believe it is our obligation to set an example for the community by getting our team members vaccinated," said Ms. Osborn.

As of June 11, nearly 75 percent of Northwell's workforce is vaccinated.

For more information about health systems that are requiring vaccination for employees, click here.  

This story was updated at 12:57 p.m. CST June 11.

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