Washington state hospitals could lose up to 5% of staff over mandate, survey finds

A survey of hospitals and health systems in Washington state shows an overall staff vaccination rate of 88 percent statewide.

The survey from the Washington State Hospital Association, which includes data from 94 percent of the state's hospitals, was conducted after the Oct. 4 cut-off to be vaccinated ahead of the Oct. 18 state mandate deadline.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation Aug. 9 requiring that most state employees and all healthcare workers be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. The requirement applies to most state executive branch employees and on-site contractors and volunteers, along with public and private healthcare and long-term care workers, the governor said.

According to the hospital association's survey, the 12 percent of hospital staff members statewide who were not fully vaccinated at the time of the survey were either partially vaccinated, had an approved exemption and accommodation, had applied or planned to apply for an exemption that has not yet been considered, had not yet provided verification, or were choosing not to be vaccinated.

"The hospital association believes that statewide, 2 to 5 percent of hospital staff could leave the workforce because of the vaccination requirement. The final number will not likely be known until early November," the association said in a news release.

The survey also found that several hospitals said they will need to reduce or consolidate some services because of the anticipated effects of staff losses on patient care.

Read more about the survey here.

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