Possible upcoming revisions to the vaccination mandate for Colorado healthcare workers

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COLORADO – Healthcare workers are now being sacked for failing to meet the state’s immunization mandate.

Of the 26,500 UCHealth employees statewide, 119 employees, or less than 0.5% of our workforce, have not received any of the three available COVID-19 vaccines or have not received a medical exemption or religious. The employment of these 119 employees is terminated. This includes 32 employees in the southern Colorado area. Some who work in other health establishments fear they will be next.

Colorado Hospital Association said there could be a review of the emergency decision this month to allow medical and religious exemptions or for those who hire people who are not yet fully vaccinated. Many health systems wait until the end of October to make their final decisions. There are different calendars at work with the mandate of the state as well as the mandates of the health system of each individual.

“We have seen some drafts of some revisions that CDPHE could recommend to the board to consider for the emergency rule and which would include lowering the facility compliance rate from 100% to 90%, which would be consistent with our other vaccine mandate as with our influenza vaccine, ”said Cara Welch, senior communications director for the Colorado Hospital Association.

A recent study said one in five healthcare workers left the medical field during the pandemic due to stress and burnout. Healthcare facilities are also seeing workers move to other areas where they might be better paid or where they are needed more.

“Right now, staffing is our number one concern,” Welch said. “I would say the tenure is really just one part of what we’re dealing with with our staffing. “

The Colorado Hospital Association represents almost all of the state’s health systems, including more than 100 hospitals and health systems. They said the state board of health is meeting on October 21 to consider some revisions to the vaccines mandate.

“So there are a lot of uncertainties right now and some are related and we have revisions coming later in October,” Welch added.

Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo has said that due to staff shortages, bed capacity and an increase in COVID-19 cases, some non-life-threatening surgeries will be delayed. The Parkview Medical Center has said that with increasing hospitalizations from COVID-19 and staff shortages in various departments, the health system must use resources where they are needed most. They began to slow down elective procedures requiring a hospital bed and monitor them on a case-by-case basis.

“Our hospital bed capacity is very limited at the moment. We are proactive and careful with elective procedures as we work diligently every day to care for our community. Along with the increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, we have also seen a great need for other services. Our hope is that all service lines remain open and fully functional, but we will only do so if patient care can be delivered safely and are staffed appropriately, said Leslie Barnes, President and Chief Executive Officer. the management of Parkview Health System.

As of Monday, 20% of their staff had not been vaccinated. The mandate to vaccinate Parkview employees and partners is effective November 1, 2021.

“We always urge the Coloradans to seek care when they need it, part of what we see in our hospitals are people who may have delayed care or postponed preventative care during the pandemic and now they are coming. in a very acute condition, ”Welch said.

The Colorado Hospital Association encourages everyone to get vaccinated in safe communities. There are many health systems that have not made a decision and are waiting until the end of October to do so.

Centura Health, in accordance with state immunization policy, submitted its immunization and exemption data on Friday, October 1, 2021. We will continue to work across our connected ecosystem to ensure we meet additional deadlines. set by the state.

Centura health declaration

The state is required to publish the data of each health system and the immunization status of their staff online, this information has not yet been published but should be in a few days.

UCHealth’s top priority is the safety of our patients, visitors and everyone who works in our facilities. To increase safety and minimize the spread of COVID-19, all staff and providers must now be vaccinated or receive an approved medical or religious exemption.

Anyone leaving UCHealth’s job is welcome – and encouraged – to reapply for their position if they decide to get a COVID-19 vaccine and wish to return.

Despite the loss of these employees, UCHealth’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement has helped improve staff. With high vaccination rates, fewer employees test positive for COVID-19 and have to stop work while they recover.

No hospital wants to lose valuable employees, but we know that vaccines save lives and increase safety for everyone. We value our staff and providers who have chosen to be vaccinated to protect their families, colleagues and patients. Our dedicated healthcare workers are improving the health of Colorado communities during what has been an extremely difficult time for everyone in healthcare.

To ensure we have the safest possible environment for our patients, visitors and healthcare workers, any employee who has received an approved vaccine exemption will need to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week, starting. the week of October 3. testing is a condition of employment, and employees are responsible for scheduling them. UCHealth will cover the cost of the tests.

Dan Weaver, Vice President of Communications at UCHealth


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