Ohio’s hospitals are moving forward with employee COVID-19 vaccine requirements following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing health care providers to mandate COVID-19 vaccination.
Aultman Hospital system employees, which includes facilities in Alliance, Canton and Orrville, have until Feb. 14 to get a first dose or a single Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and March 15 to complete their COVID-19 vaccination.
Currently, 89.6% of Aultman’s 7,000 employees are already compliant with the vaccination requirements, and a spokesperson said many more have received the first of two COVID-19 doses.
"We will continue to work with our colleagues to comply with the (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) requirements to have all colleagues fully compliant by March 15, 2022," an Aultman spokesperson said.
The Cleveland Clinic system, which includes Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital in Canton, will require all employees to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine or their one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Jan. 27 and their second dose by Feb. 28.
Employees who do not receive their vaccinations by those dates and who do not have an approved exemption will be placed on unpaid leave.
Currently, 67% of Mercy Hospital employees are vaccinated for COVID-19, lagging behind the systemwide 85% vaccination rate for Cleveland Clinic.
"We are proud that the majority of our caregivers are already vaccinated, and we are encouraging those who are not yet vaccinated to receive their vaccine as quickly as possible," a Cleveland Clinic statement reads.
A January 13 Supreme Court ruling struck down the Biden administration’s proposed employee vaccine mandate that would have required all businesses with 100 or more employees to either be vaccinated or be tested weekly. The court determined the requirement exceeded the authority given to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
However, the Supreme Court upheld the mandate for health care workers, saying that a COVID-19 vaccine mandate is in line with the type of regulations and requirements that the CMS routinely imposes on health care providers that receive federal funds.
In a memorandum released Monday, the CMS instructed 24 states, including Ohio, that they have 30 days from the issuance of the memo to demonstrate that 100% of staff members have at least their first COVID-19 vaccine dose or a pending request or granted qualified exemption. Failure to meet that 100% compliance standard within 60 days could result in enforcement actions, including plans of correction, civil monetary penalties and termination.
Several other states, meanwhile, are instructed by the CMS to meet the Jan. 27 and Feb. 28 deadlines for staff vaccinations, including Florida, where Cleveland Clinic also operates.
Reach Sam Zern at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-580-8322. On Twitter at @sam_zern.
This article originally appeared on The Repository: COVID-19 vaccines required by late winter for hospital employees