The mandate would have required staff at health care facilities that participate in Medicare & Medicaid programs, like Midland Memorial Hospital, to be vaccinated. Meyers said Midland Memorial Hospital officials had worked to develop policies related to the mandate and that officials had even “considered over 250 exemption requests that were allowable under the mandate and granted the vast majority of those so many of our employees would have been exempted, had the mandate continued forward.”
“We really didn't think that the mandate was accomplishing a lot other than giving us some potential staffing challenges,” Meyers said Tuesday. “As we've seen as the delta variant has evolved and we've learned more and more, most people in our community are vaccinated or have had the disease. Vaccination is not a certain preventer of the transmission of the disease. It makes it less likely, but it doesn't eliminate the possibility of someone being a carrier and transmitting it. So with the high levels of vaccination we had among our workforce -- now estimated at about 78 percent -- there wasn't a whole lot to be gained by vaccination mandate, and we would be very pleased to see that stay off the books.”
Meyers said legal challenges, including one in Louisiana, caused CMS to back off on enforcement this week until rulings have made it through the courts.
“We have put a stop to any preparation activity for enforcing the CMS mandate,” Meyers said.
He added that Midland Health is prepared -- should the appeals courts uphold the right of the federal government to mandate vaccinations -- to again implement those policies.
He added that the hospital was worried about a loss of staff because of the mandates.
“There is not an insignificant number of people for whom this is a personal liberty question,” Meyers said. “It's not a question of whether the vaccine works or not. It is a ‘you can't tell me what to do’ question, and I think we were in a position to lose some important employees had the vaccination mandate gone through simply because of that stance. And given the limited value of the mandate, that was not a good trade. We certainly want to keep our people working and caring for the people we serve here in the community.”aside">