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BCH staff given notice of CMS vaccine deadline

November 19, 2021

Boundary Community Hospital CEO Preston Becker today notified all hospital employees that, with few exceptions, they must receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by December 6 so that the hospital can continue serving as a Medicare provider.

"It is with great distress to inform you of our current situation as it relates to the CMS COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate that was released November 5th," Becker wrote, referring to the emergency regulation issued by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "The leadership of our organization has worked diligently to fully understand the new rule so that we can ensure compliance as well as uphold the ongoing mission of our great organization, caring for our community every day."

The memorandum notes that about two-thirds of the patients cared for at Boundary Community Hospital are Medicare recipients, and that not complying would put at risk the hospital's ability to serve a majority of the community.

"The situation is most unfortunate as we have already experienced recent staffing challenges due to vacancies as well as growth in volumes," he wrote. "The mandate puts us in a difficult position at a time in which we are all feeling stretched thin. For this I am very sorry yet I know we will all come together to help and support one another."

Hospital administration has developed a draft policy meeting requirements of the emergency CMS rule, and accompanying the memorandum were forms by which to request exemptions for employees with medical conditions and for religious exemptions, with the request that those seeking the exemptions turn them in by November 30.

"I appreciate every single one of you and ask that you help us to work through this process in order for us to best serve you and your needs so that we may continue to serve the needs of our community, let's not allow this to get in the way of doing what we do best and that's providing excellent care to our community every day."

At about 3 p.m., Boundary Community Hospital issued the following release:

"Boundary Community Hospital has found itself in an unfortunate circumstance; we are required to comply with the CMS regulated COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate in order for us to be a Medicare designated hospital. Our purpose is to care for our community, and to do that, we have to comply with all CMS regulations.

"As a hospital we feel that it is pertinent that we do what we can to fight the pandemic, and for most that looks like a vaccine, but it doesn’t look that way for all.

"It is disheartening that we are being put in a position of implementing this vaccine mandate that could potentially threaten the jobs of employees who have carried us through this pandemic.

"So we have developed an exemption process for our employees that is in compliance with the mandate; there are two exemption methods, for medical purposes or sincerely held religious beliefs. We intend to support our employees through this process and continue to provide the high quality of care that we are known for."

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Mike Weland, Publisher  

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