What Healthcare Administrators Need to Know About Vaccine Mandates
On September 9, 2022, President Biden made a speech to the American people regarding the COVID vaccine. This is not his first reference to a vaccine mandate, but it is certainly an expansion to his last address. According to President Biden, around 80 million Americans are unvaccinated, which is contributing to crowding in hospitals and lack of available services for American health patients who have other emergencies and illnesses stating,
“The unvaccinated overcrowd our hospitals, are overrunning the emergency rooms and intensive care units, leaving no room for someone with a heart attack, or pancreatitis [pancreatitis], or cancer.”
In his speech, he outlined plans to increase the number of vaccinated workers nationwide, in the federal employment sector, the defense sector, the healthcare sector, and the education sector. For the purposes of this article we’re focusing on the plans for the healthcare sector, his remarks were as follows:
“Already, I’ve announced, we’ll be requiring vaccinations that all nursing home workers who treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid, … Tonight, I’m using that same authority to expand that to cover those who work in hospitals, home healthcare facilities, or other medical facilities –- a total of 17 million healthcare workers.”
To further support his vaccine mandate he issued the following order to employers.
“The Department of Labor will require employers with 100 or more workers to give those workers paid time off to get vaccinated. No one should lose pay in order to get vaccinated or take a loved one to get vaccinated.”
Legal Efforts to Block Vaccine Mandate
The Republican National Committee (RNC) swiftly responded with a statement that they intend to file a lawsuit, stating they would do so on behalf of all businesses who have 100 employees or more but do not have the financial reserves to file a suit for themselves. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have made statements against the mandate, and there are rumors Abbott is preparing a legal move to block the mandate for his state. Similarly, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem told the Twitterverse “@JoeBiden see you in court”. Nevertheless, what does that mean for everyone covered by the mandate in the meantime?
Lawsuits are not quick processes, and while President Biden didn’t set a hard deadline in his speech, we can easily assume the deadline will be long before a determination from an impending lawsuit could be announced. Healthcare facilities that have resisted mandating vaccines so far, will need to prepare a rollout for now. Vaccine mandates have been a hotly contested issue throughout American history as far back as the mid-1800s. In 1905, a case contesting mandated vaccine for smallpox was taken to the Supreme Court, Jacobson V Massachusetts, and in a ruling of seven to two, the court ruled that mandated vaccines were constitutional.
What Does This Mean for Healthcare Facilities and Hospitals?
Any healthcare facility, clinic, or hospital that accepts reimbursements of any amount from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are included in the vaccine mandate, furthermore, they will not have the option to submit weekly negative COVID tests in lieu of the vaccine for healthcare workers.
According to the Associated Press, companies found in violation of the vaccine mandate would face a $14,000 fine per occurrence, and while the CMS hasn’t announced how it would penalize healthcare facilities for lack of compliance, they do have the power to terminate any agreements in place with agencies who are deemed in violation of regulations.
Utilize Per Diem Jobs for Healthcare Workers
Many healthcare facilities are struggling with the weight of parallel issues: staffing shortages, and blowback from the mandatory vaccine for healthcare workers. This burden places many clinics and larger facilities in a very real quandary, one that on a macro scale cannot be solved overnight. Be that as it may, on a micro-scale, indeed it can be helped.
Sourcing per diem staff (PRN) may be, in your experience up to now, an exhausting task fraught with paperwork and phone calls to multiple agencies or other facilities. However, with NursaTM, the process can be simple and less stressful.
Our platform works to connect registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants to the clinics, facilities, and hospitals in their home towns, cities, and surrounding communities. Many of our talent pool actively seek PRN shifts in towns outside of their own, by joining NursaTM, you allow your staffing needs to be seen by a wider network of skilled clinicians than previously possible.
Vaccine documentation is a component of the professional online portfolio for each clinician who utilizes NursaTM. Nevertheless, there are clinicians in our network who remain unvaccinated for COVID.
We’ve asked our network of clinicians to be mindful of their vaccine status and to read carefully the vaccine requirements of any shift that they apply for to avoid any last-minute cancellations or issues with completing an agreed-upon shift.
Along the same vein, we respectfully ask that facilities be sure to include if the open shift posted requires a COVID vaccinated PRN staff member to help avoid misunderstandings.