WASHINGTON, D.C. – Many hospitals across the country are backtracking on COVID-19 vaccination requirements for staff members amid the recent legal blockage of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate by federal judges.
In late November, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Monroe, Louisiana temporarily blocked the Biden Administration from enforcing a CMS mandate that would have forced thousands of medical workers to get inoculated against COVID-19 in order to curb the spread of the virus. The judge’s temporary block of the mandate applies whiLe the case is currently making its way through the court system.
Doughty said that the CMS mandate was beyond the scope of its authority, and that it should have come from the legislative branch of government instead.
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“There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million healthcare workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency,” Doughty said of his ruling.
Doughty’s ruling applied nationwide, with the exception of 10 states where a federal judge in St. Louis had already blocked the measure.
While the litigation is pending on the CMS mandate, numerous hospitals and healthcare systems across the country are in the process of pausing their own vaccination requirements. Becker’s Hospital Review reports that 13 medical facilities and organizations, including ones from Texas, Florida, Ohio, Delaware, South Carolina, Utah, Idaho, and Tennessee have already suspending COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
In addition, two of Cleveland, Ohio’s largest hospital systems – University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic – have also announced that they have rescinded their COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees.
“In light of the federal court injunction issued Nov. 30 that temporarily blocks CMS from enforcing the mandate, come Jan. 4, unless there is further legal action, caregivers may continue to provide patient care services regardless of their vaccination status,” University Hospitals said in a statement, adding that the majority of their staff are already vaccinated.
Also, AdventHealth – a large hospital in Florida – announced that it had suspended its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for its 83,000 employees, although they stated that they still encouraged them to get the jab. The announcement came after state Governor Ron DeSantis had signed legislation that prohibited private employers from enforcing vaccination mandates for their workers.