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Jackson hospital CEO urges staff not to leave because of mandate

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COVID-19

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab.

JACKSON (WNE) — St. John’s Health CEO David Robertson in a Wednesday email to hospital staff expressed gratitude for their service and urged them not to leave because of the recently approved federal vaccine mandate.

Roughly 17% of St. John’s staff of about 830 are unvaccinated.

“It is my sincere desire for us to NOT see anyone leave our St. John’s team as a result of this nationally mandated program. Our community is counting on us,” the CEO wrote.

Robertson also expressed support for the lifesaving pandemic precaution.

“As you all know, I am personally very strongly committed to the value and efficacy of vaccines,” he wrote. “Without question, for employee safety and the safety of co-workers and patients, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is the recommended course of action.”

Finalized rules from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services require health care workers nationwide to receive their first vaccine dose by Dec. 5 and complete the series by Jan. 4.

There are select medical and religious exemptions, but unlike the mandated program for employers with more than 100 employees, there is no test-out option for health care workers.

Staff who are not fully vaccinated or granted an exemption by Jan. 4 cannot continue to work for St. John’s.

The federal mandate applies to all health care organizations nationwide that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Noncompliance could result in St. John’s being excluded from those programs, “which would essentially result in the closure of St. John’s,” Robertson wrote.

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