Colorado Springs, Colorado 2021-07-28 05:01:00 –
Employees of four Colorado hospitals must be vaccinated against the coronavirus by this fall. This was the first requirement for state health care workers.
However, even if the highly contagious delta variant of the virus leads to an increase in the number of cases across Colorado, other hospital systems are not ready to keep up—it can change quickly.
Banner Health, based in Arizona, which operates hospitals in Greeley, Fort Collins, Sterling and Brush, announced last week that it would require COVID-19 vaccination as an “employment requirement.” This means that non-compliant employees may be dismissed. Employees must be fully vaccinated until November 1st.
In a news release announcing the mandate, Banner cited the need to protect delta variants and patients and their workforce as reasons for placing orders.
“We care for some of the most vulnerable people in the community and we have a duty to take all possible steps to ensure the safest care environment,” said Peter Fine, CEO of Banner Health last week. Said in the company-wide email sent. Quoted in news release.. “We are taking this step to reduce the risk to patients, their families, visitors, and each other.”
Momentum of Vaccine Obligation for Healthcare Professionals Growing nationwide..
The Department of Veterans Affairs this week Frontline healthcare professionals vaccinated against COVID-19..American Hospital Association Says to support mandate..Do so Other major medical groupsIn collaboration with more than 50 other organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Nursing, we have issued a joint statement in support of vaccine obligations for healthcare professionals, including nursing homes and other care centers.
However, Colorado hospitals have been moving more tentatively so far.
Following the banner announcement, Colorado Sun contacted other large hospital systems in the state. None of them have an imminent plan to announce the delegation.
Similarly, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has no plans to require health care workers to be vaccinated.
“Colorado is not currently pursuing any obligations,” a CDPHE spokeswoman said, saying employers may be able to require vaccinations.
One of the reasons may be that the vaccination coverage of Colorado hospitals is already high, at least compared to the general public.
As of Tuesday afternoon, about 58% of Colorado’s population had been vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine at least once. In the hospital system Sun has contacted, vaccination rates for all staff are at least 75% and most are above 80%. The proportion of front-line medical staff (doctors, nurses, and others directly involved in patient care) is even higher.
But even more pressing in deciding whether to make it mandatory is the current regulatory status of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration has not yet given full approval — instead, the vaccine is administered under a accelerated approval process called an emergency use authorization.
The FDA is expected to give full approval to at least one of the COVID vaccines manufactured by Pfizer. In the next few weeks..Currently, some employers are issuing powers of attorney, but many are cautious. About their legal authority to do so before the FDA gives a full OK..
Most Colorado hospitals appear to be waiting for FDA full approval before making a decision.
“We are not planning a delegation at this time and will reassess the vaccine when it is approved by the FDA,” wrote Centura Health spokesman Kevin Massey in an email. “We expect more caregivers to choose vaccination.”
Centura is one of several hospital systems in Colorado that provides employees with an incentive bonus to get vaccinated. For example, Centura and UC Health offer employees $ 500 to get a full vaccination. Both systems state that vaccination rates have increased since the announcement of the incentive program.
However, vaccination deadlines to qualify for these bonuses are approaching at both Centura and UC Health hospitals. UC Health spokesman Dan Weaver said a specific date has not yet been set, but the system will issue a mandate in the fall after the end of the incentive program.
Hospitals throughout the state may also be looking at each other before deciding to issue a power of attorney. Hospitals often share providers, especially in the Denver Metro area. For example, a doctor who practices at UC Health may also work at Denver Health.
Therefore, their decision to issue a vaccine mandate is to some extent interrelated, and the movement of hospitals together in issuing a mandate puts a great deal of pressure on workers to be vaccinated. prize.
Colorado hospitals strongly support vaccination of all qualified people, regardless of who is strategic in the workplace.
“We were very enthusiastic about providing the COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as possible,” said HealthONE, owner of several major hospitals in the Denver Metro area, including the Swedish Medical Center and the Aurora Medical Center. A spokeswoman wrote. In the statement. “We’ve spent more than a year and a half fighting COVID-19 every day, and we’ve seen the impact. We know that vaccines are the next best step to a sense of normality and opportunity to acquire. I know. Let’s go back to our favorite activities with friends and family. “
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