Forwarded on behalf of Susan Houseman, President and CEO, Dr. Gerald Harriman, Medical Director, and Stephanie Fiebig, Human Resources Manager
Good afternoon –
As you know, there have been many questions regarding the position of Harbor Hospice regarding the potential mandate of the COVID-19 vaccination. Our approach thus far has been to strongly encourage the vaccine for all our employees, volunteers, and contracted workers. In September, after several health systems were moving forward with a vaccine including Trinity Health, we discussed whether we should procced with a mandate. After an in-depth review, we decided with the support of the Board of Directors, to continue our approach of encouraging those who work for Harbor Hospice and do business with us to get the vaccine and to continue to take appropriate precautions to mitigate risk and the spread of the disease through masking, sanitizing, distancing, and other appropriate measures. To date, over 70% of our employees have been fully vaccinated. Through the efforts from our town hall meetings provided by Dr. Harriman and other educational resources, we have gradually increased our organization’s vaccination rate since the vaccine become available. However, in anticipation that we could potentially be impacted by a Federal vaccine mandate and we began to work on a preparation plan.
On November 5th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid issued an emergency regulation requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for all health care staff who work in organizations that participate in Medicare and Medicare Programs. This national requirement protects patients at nearly 76,000 providers and covers more than 17 million health care workers. Hospice organizations fall under this emergency regulation. When health care staff cannot work because of illness or exposure to COVID-19, the strain on the health care system becomes more severe and further limits patient access to safe and essential care. Your safety and the safety of our patients and families is our top priority.
Therefore, effective November 23rd, Harbor Hospice will require for all employees, volunteers, students, and contracted workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Please click here to see the memorandum for additional details, required action items and timeline.