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More Indiana hospitals requiring COVID-19 vaccine for employees

COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 2:25 PM, Jul 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 17:04:43-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Ascension St. Vincent, Franciscan Health and Eskenazi Health are the latest healthcare systems in Indiana to put COVID-19 vaccine requirements in place for staff.

Ascension St. Vincent announced Wednesday all employees, whether or not they provide direct patient care, will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by November 12, 2021.

The requirement affects employees who work on-site or remotely, including those employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities.

"Ascension conducted a thorough moral and ethical analysis as part of the decision-making process. This decision is rooted in our Mission commitment to leading with quality and safety," Ascension said in a statement. "As a healthcare provider and as a Catholic ministry, ensuring we have a culture of safety for our associates, patients and communities is foundational to our work."

Ascension says tens of thousands of employees have already been vaccinated, "but we must do more to overcome this pandemic as we provide safe environments for those we serve."

Franciscan Health says by August 31, all coworkers and medical staff members will be required to submit a copy of their state-issued proof of vaccination or a Franciscan laboratory test result for a test performed in August affirming that they have a sufficient level of immunity to the COVID-19 virus.

"In the near future, we anticipate the need for all co-workers, medical staff members, volunteers, students, and contracted workers to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus," Franciscan said in a statement. "We remain flexible to the timing of a target date as we await the FDA’s expected action to fully approve the vaccine."

Franciscan says it is unknown what percentage of staff have received a COVID-19 vaccine or have developed antibodies to the disease as a result of having contracted the virus, and "a recent voluntary survey did not produce enough responses to determine the level of protection within our healthcare system."

Eskenazi Health said Wednesday it is requiring all staff to get the vaccine by September 20.

IU Health and Community Health also have vaccine requirements for staff.

COVID-19 vaccines are mandatory for Title 38 VA health care personnel — including physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, expanded-function dental auxiliaries and chiropractors — who work in Veterans Health Administration facilities, visit VHA facilities or provide direct care to those VA serves.

The VA says employees have eight weeks to be fully vaccinated.

“We’re mandating vaccines for Title 38 employees because it’s the best way to keep Veterans safe, especially as the Delta variant spreads across the country,” Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said. “Whenever a Veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19. With this mandate, we can once again make — and keep — that fundamental promise.”

You can read the full statements from Ascension and Franciscan below.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and new variants of the virus emerge, Ascension continues to focus on ensuring our associates are protected – for the safety of patients and visitors, our associates, our families and loved ones, and the community.

Like many health systems across the country, including in many of our markets, we are moving to require our associates to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Ascension conducted a thorough moral and ethical analysis as part of the decision-making process. This decision is rooted in our Mission commitment to leading with quality and safety. As a healthcare provider and as a Catholic ministry, ensuring we have a culture of safety for our associates, patients and communities is foundational to our work.

Tens of thousands of Ascension associates have already been vaccinated with the available vaccines, as have millions of people across the country and the world. But we must do more to overcome this pandemic as we provide safe environments for those we serve.

Ascension will require that all associates be vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they provide direct patient care, and whether they work in our sites of care or remotely. This includes associates employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities.

Our timeline for completing the vaccine series and meeting this requirement will be Nov. 12, 2021. This timing is aligned with Ascension’s annual influenza vaccination requirement and we will follow a similar implementation process. In those instances when someone may not be able to get vaccinated due to a medical condition or strongly held religious belief, Ascension will provide a process for requesting an exemption similar to the process we use for the annual influenza vaccine. In addition, this requirement will be implemented in accordance with collective bargaining agreements reached between Ascension business entities and unions representing our associates.

Together, we will put this pandemic behind us so that we can continue to focus on meeting the needs of those who come to us for care.
Ascension
COVID-19 has taken 600,000 lives and infected more than 34,000,000 people in the United States. With the emergence of a new, more contagious delta variant making up 83 percent of new cases reported in our country, Franciscan Alliance’s leadership believes it is in the best interest of our patients, visitors, and staff to take the next step to promote and facilitate health and safety.

In the near future, we anticipate the need for all co-workers, medical staff members, volunteers, students, and contracted workers to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. We remain flexible to the timing of a target date as we await the FDA’s expected action to fully approve the vaccine. We are convinced this decision aligns with our mission and is supported by overwhelming medical evidence.

At this time, we do not know what percentage of our staff have received a COVID-19 vaccine or have developed antibodies to the disease as a result of having contracted the virus. A recent voluntary survey did not produce enough responses to determine the level of protection within our healthcare system.

By August 31, all coworkers and medical staff members will be required to submit a copy of their state-issued proof of vaccination or a Franciscan laboratory test result for a test performed in August affirming that they have a sufficient level of immunity to the COVID-19 virus.

We are grateful how our Franciscan family members who have made many personal sacrifices to provide safe, reliable and effective care during the pandemic. As we continue together on this most challenging journey, we have an obligation to those we are privileged to serve and protect them and ourselves from the spread of this debilitating and deadly disease.
Franciscan Health