Early Adopter of COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for Employees
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS) has put the safety, health and wellbeing of patients, employees and communities at the forefront. Safety, along with guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, has influenced every decision made during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, and after considering the risks and benefits of requiring the vaccine, MCHS announced in early August 2021 that all employees and providers were required to meet MCHS COVID-19 vaccine requirements by Nov. 15, 2021. This decision was made for the following reasons:
- To support the organization in living out its mission and core values of excellence, trust and being patient-centered;
- With COVID-19 positive cases rising across the country, the trend not slowing down, and most of the COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths attributed to unvaccinated individuals, requiring the vaccine is the best way to protect the health and safety of MCHS employees and patients; and
- To assure the community and our patients, families, visitors and employees that we are providing them with the safest possible environment.
Leaders in employee health, human resources, infection prevention and other departments collaborated together to identify policies and processes to support vaccine administration as well as medical and religious exemptions. Knowing that staff had different viewpoints toward the new MCHS vaccine requirement, leadership communicated that they hoped all staff would choose to remain with MCHS and get their vaccine or secure an appropriate exemption and follow the associated mitigation strategy. Many resources were also developed to support employees having the information they needed on the COVID-19 vaccine and the MCHS vaccine requirements.
Despite this support, some employees chose to not comply with the MCHS vaccine requirements given their strong opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine and ultimately left the organization.
Since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in December 2021 that eligible health care providers must have a COVID-19 vaccine policy in place, health care systems have adopted policies to comply with the federal rules requiring staff to receive the vaccine. MCHS is proud to be an early adopter of the COVID-19 vaccine requirements and will continue to live out its mission and values by requiring and enforcing safety measures to protect the lives and health of patients, employees and the communities it serves.