Update on Kootenai Health's requirements for employees.
"Since a vaccination for COVID-19 became available, Kootenai Health has strongly encouraged COVID-19 vaccination for its employees and medical staff. This past month, when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) interim final rule requiring COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers was announced, we took steps to implement that new CMS condition of participation. A recent federal court order in Louisiana has prevented CMS from enforcing the vaccine rule pending further court consideration. However, that order does not prevent heath care providers from taking steps to lessen the impact of COVID-19.
Given that the CMS rule was designed to protect health and safety and Kootenai Health still believes this to be true, we will continue to move forward with a COVID-19 vaccination requirement like hospitals in Boise and Spokane did even before the CMS rule.
Due to the uncertainty this court order has created, we have pushed out the dates for compliance. New dates are as follows:
Dec. 2: Employees who submitted a vaccination exemption form by Nov. 24 should have received a response. If a response was not received, the employee should contact Employee Health. If the exemption request was not approved, the employee will have until Dec. 13 to be in compliance.
Dec. 13: New deadline for compliance (note: this deadline was previously Dec. 6 and has been extended until Dec. 13). This is the last day for employees to submit a vaccination certification form. Exemption requests will be reviewed as quickly as possible. Individuals who previously committed to being vaccinated must receive the one Johnson & Johnson dose, or the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Dec. 14: Non-compliant employees will be placed on unpaid leave for up to 7 days to become compliant. Employees may use PTO if they have PTO available.
Dec. 21: All employees who still have not received the vaccine or been approved for an exemption will be separated from employment.
Kootenai Health will continue to monitor the status of all litigation involving the CMS rule and make any changes as warranted."
In my opinion Kootenai Health is not making changes based on litigation. If they truly were they would push things off to mid-January.
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