Ballad Health vaccine mandate goes into effect

Published 5:18 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2022

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Ballad Health administrators planned to meet Tuesday to discuss the fate of the nearly 1% of its workforce that had not provided documentation of COVID-19 vaccination or exemption from the vaccine and were at risk for dismissal.

The employees who have not provided either of these will be placed on suspension from the organization and will be dismissed after 90 days, unless either are provided by these employees.

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“As of (Friday) morning, we had 133 people who had either not provided documentation of getting a COVID-19 vaccine outside of our system or have not gotten a vaccine yet, or not provided an exemption from the vaccine. We’re down considerably from just a few days ago,” Ballad Chief Operating Officer Eric Deaton said on Friday afternoon.

Deaton said almost 95% of Ballad’s 12,500 employees were accounted for, with more than 10,000 now fully vaccinated and just over 1,500 approved for an exemption for either medical or religious reasons. Others are partially vaccinated.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January ruled in favor of a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to enforce its interim final rule requiring many Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers to vaccinate their staff for COVID-19.

Deaton said some employees did resign due to the vaccine mandate, but it has not been a large number.

Ballad officials said they planned to meet Tuesday afternoon to address the issue and would provide updated information.

As of Monday, Ballad Health was treating 375 patients with COVID-19 — 67 patients who are in the Intensive Care Unit, 46 who are on ventilators, and five children at Niswonger Children’s Hospital.