by Terry Rogers
As many hospitals began requiring all staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19, Bayhealth was one of the few healthcare systems who allowed their staff to either be vaccinated or submit to weekly tests under the recommended CDC guidelines. With a recent ruling by the Supreme Court that the federal government can require all healthcare workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, Bayhealth was required to change their policy.
“As valued members of our Bayhealth team, we are committed to keeping you informed about important news that affects our health system and our employees,” a memorandum signed by President and CEO Terry Murphy, read. “The U.S. Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that the CMS vaccine mandate for healthcare workers at participating CMS organizations will move forward. Under the latest ruling, all eligible employees must be vaccinated no later than February 28, 2022 with the first doses administered no later than January 27, 2022.”
The letter continued that the requirement was a condition of employment at Bayhealth. Employees who refused the vaccine would face termination no later than February 28. Staff were advised to arrange for vaccine appointments through Baynet, a clinic, pharmacy or doctor’s office. Anyone who had received the vaccine at a pharmacy or location other than a Bayhealth facility was asked to provide a photo or scan of their vaccine card.
“We are not getting pushback,” Kevin Snyder, Vice-President of Marketing and Communications, said. “Staff is asking questions about the mandate and the requirements. Bayhealth is making the vaccine available to staff every day. We remain hopeful we will retain all our staff. We don’t feel comfortable speculating about what percentage of staff might choose to not get vaccinated. Ultimately, every day, staff members continue to get vaccinated and continue to get their booster shots.”
Snyder continued that Bayhealth was also offering additional options for staff to get vaccinated in an effort to provide the most convenience possible. He stated that the majority of the staff at Bayhealth is already considered fully vaccinated and the number continues to rise each day.
“As a community health leader for nearly 100 years, Bayhealth is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all patients, employees, physicians and visitors,” Snyder said. “Bayhealth will continue to comply with the state and federal vaccine mandates as we have done so throughout the pandemic. Additionally, we continue to urge all our employees to be vaccinated. Bayhealth is making vaccines available to our dedicated staff daily. We remain grateful for our team of caregivers and physicians who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic since day one. The important thing we want the staff to know is that we love them, we value them and they are vital to meeting the healthcare needs of the people who live in Kent and Sussex Counties.”
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