WCHS to vote on vaccine mandate

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

The Weston County Health Services board of trustees will review and vote on a vaccine mandate policy on Thursday, Nov. 18, after the release of mandate regulations from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, commonly referred to as CMS.

During a Monday evening board and medical staff meeting at the facility, CEO Maureen Cadwell presented the draft policy that will be recommended to the board on Thursday evening for an official vote. 

“Basically, what the regulations state is that we are required to have a policy in place that mandates the vaccine for health care personnel,” Cadwell said. “In that regulation, we are allowed to offer medical and religious exemptions.” 

She noted that the medical exemption has to be specific to the COVID-19 vaccine while the religious exemption is “a little looser.” 

According to Cadwell, per the regulations, employees need to receive their first dose of the vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Dec. 5. 

If the facility were to be surveyed by the CMS after that date and there is not a full listing of vaccinated employees and exemptions, then the facility could face consequences, including potential loss of its Medicare and Medicaid certification. Cadwell did note that there are other less drastic consequences, but after some time, the loss of certification and therefore Medicaid and Medicare funding is possible. 

Cadwell explained that a lawsuit joined by Gov. Mark Gordon with several other states is trying to stop this
particular regulation. 

“We don’t know where that will be. The recommendation is to get the policy in place and try to get exemptions if they meet (them) or the vaccine. That is what I know today,” she said. 

Currently, 67% of the district’s employees are vaccinated, according to Angie Phillips, the facility’s infection control nurse. The district employs approximately 200 people between the hospital, clinics and other operations. 

 

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