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CRMC, TMH to require employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4

Posted at 1:57 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 12:09:12-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A major hospital in Tallahassee has announced that they are requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, 2022.

The policy comes as the White House announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is issuing a rule that will require workers at facilities who receive Medicare and Medicaid funding to be vaccinated against the virus.

That mandate will also go into effect on Jan. 4, and it covers an additional 700,000 workers.

A Capital Regional Medical Center spokesperson told ABC 27 Thursday that CRMC's parent company HCA Healthcare has put the requirement in place to comply with federal healthcare regulations.

"To date, HCA Healthcare has encouraged our colleagues to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and made vaccines readily available, but we have not mandated vaccination," said the spokesperson. "To comply with recently issued federal healthcare regulations, we are now requiring our colleagues to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by January 4, 2022."

The CRMC spokesperson did not respond to specific questions regarding how many employees the vaccine requirement would affect, nor did they respond to specific questions regarding potential exemptions or opt-outs.

CRMC's full statement can be read below:

"To date, HCA Healthcare has encouraged our colleagues to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and made vaccines readily available, but we have not mandated vaccination. To comply with recently issued federal healthcare regulations, we are now requiring our colleagues to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by January 4, 2022. We have plans in place based on processes, best practices and knowledge gained from our operations in states that have already mandated vaccination. Since COVID-19 vaccines became available earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as our infectious disease experts, have been strongly encouraging vaccination as a critical step to protect individuals from the virus and the majority of HCA Healthcare colleagues have already been fully vaccinated. We are working with our colleagues to assist those that have not yet received the vaccine."
Capital Regional Medical Center

Stephanie Derzypolski, Vice President & Chief Communication Officer at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare told ABC 27 on Thursday that they will also be complying with the federal policy and will require all employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022.

"As a healthcare facility, we have an obligation to provide access to care for elderly patients who receive Medicare and other vulnerable populations who receive Medicaid," said Derzypolski. "In order to provide care to these most vulnerable populations who receive care through these federal programs, TMH must comply with this regulation."

Derzypolski added that CMS does allow for exemptions for individuals with clinically recognized medical conditions. There are also exemptions based on religious beliefs.

According to Derzypolski, TMH currently has 5,500 employees, but could not provide an exact number of how many are already vaccinated against COVID-19.

To comply with the federal mandate, the vaccination requirement will be completed in two phases, Derzypolski told ABC 27:

  • Phase 1- By Dec. 5, 2021, all TMH colleagues must receive, at minimum, the first dose of a primary series (Moderna or Pfizer) or a single dose (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine or risk termination of employment unless they have an approved exemption.
  • Phase 2- By Jan. 4, 2022, all TMH colleagues must have completed their primary vaccination series or risk termination of employment unless they have an approved exemption.

The full statement from TMH can be read below:

"On November 4, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released two new rules concerning mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. The CMS rule applies to all healthcare facilities, including TMH and overrides our previous policy which required vaccination but also recognized natural immunity. Since COVID-19 vaccines became available, TMH has worked hard to educate and strongly encourage our colleagues to receive the vaccine.

The CMS federal rule requires healthcare workers at all healthcare facilities who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs to be fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022.

As a healthcare facility, we have an obligation to provide access to care for elderly patients who receive Medicare and other vulnerable populations who receive Medicaid. In order to provide care to these most vulnerable populations who receive care through these federal programs, TMH must comply with this regulation."
Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare