A previously initiated vaccine mandate for hospital employees has been halted, and Marion Health leadership is still deciding how to proceed.

On Nov. 4, CMS issued a regulation for healthcare facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs requiring all healthcare employees be vaccinated from COVID-19, according to Kate Lyons, Administrative Director for Marion Health.

“As a Medicare and Medicaid-certified provider, Marion Health is required to follow this mandate to continue to participate in those programs and serve our Medicare and Medicaid population,” Lyons said in a statement on Nov. 18.

Lyons reiterated that the mandate came from CMS and was not a decision made by the hospital. A process to file for medical and religious exemptions, and instructions to request exemptions had been shared with the staff.

Employees were previously expected to have their first phase of the vaccine by Dec. 1, and have the completed series by Dec. 29.

A federal district court in Louisiana Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction placing a temporary hold on enforcement of the CMS vaccine mandate for health care facilities in all states.

In September, Marion Health’s staff vaccination rate was around 60-65 percent.

“Marion Health continues to be dedicated to safety and provide accessible service for all patients,” Lyons said. “Most of our healthcare workers have already chosen to receive the vaccine, and we appreciate our team’s cooperation as we work to continue to provide safe care to our patients.”
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