63 Ballad Health employees still unvaccinated after Friday mandate

Published 3:42 pm Thursday, February 17, 2022

BY NIC MILLER
STAR STAFF
nic.miller@elizabethton.com

As of Wednesday, 63 Ballad employees have not been vaccinated and are not eligible to return to work.

That number was released by Ballad Health CEO and President Alan Levine, who said of those, 45 are direct clinical employees.

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Ballad officials said employees who have not received either dose of the vaccine will be placed on suspension for 90 days before being dismissed, while those who have received the first dose will have until March 11 to receive their second dose before being placed on suspension.

“These employees are certainly welcome to come back and start working again if they get vaccinated,” Lavine said during a press conference.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services vaccination mandate for employees of facilities which receive the federal funding. Employees had until Friday to comply or to seek religious or medical exemptions. As of Friday evening, 133 were still unvaccinated.

“As recently as Jan. 28, we had nearly 1,000 employees who had not been vaccinated or requested an exemption,” Levine said. “That concerned us, and I have to give credit to our department managers who worked with employees and communicated with them through this process.”

Ballad Health’s COO Eric Deaton said the majority of the hospital staff is vaccinated. “As of today, we are 86 percent vaccinated, which is remarkable,” he said. “We have around 1,700 exemptions, 3.3 percent of employees who are partially vaccinated, and around 250 employees who are able to wait to get the vaccine because they are COVID-deferred.”