A Florida-based hospital system ended its vaccination mandate for its 83,000 employees after multiple federal courts issued preliminary injunctions against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ vaccine mandate for health care workers.
AdventHealth, which operates in nine states including Florida, previously sent a letter to employees saying they had until Dec. 6 to get their first dose of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine regimen, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot by Jan. 4, 2022. Workers who didn’t comply could have faced termination.
“Due to recent decisions by the federal courts to block the CMS vaccine mandate, we are suspending all vaccination requirements of our COVID-19 vaccination policy,” AdventHealth Chief Clinical Officer Neil Finkler said in a letter.
The letter said that because of “the complexity of federal and state laws” regarding vaccine exemptions, AdventHealth won’t process new requests for exemptions.
The hospital system “will continue to monitor the ongoing litigation regarding the federal law,” AdventHealth spokesman Jeff Grainger said in a statement to local media. He added that AdventHealth is still recommending that its staff get vaccinated.
Several days ago, CMS issued a memo saying that it remains confident that the federal government will prevail and uphold the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate. However, because of several recent court orders that impact the United States and its territories, CMS has paused implementation of the mandate that workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-funded facilities need to get vaccinated.
A CMS spokesperson confirmed to The Epoch Times that the agency “has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of this rule pending future developments in the litigation.”
“The vaccine requirement for health care workers addresses the risk of unvaccinated health care staff to patient safety and provides stability and uniformity across the nation’s health care system,” the spokesperson said. “Staff in any health care setting who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health.”
Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued preliminary injunctions against the CMS rule, which was unveiled on Nov. 4 alongside federal rules that mandate either testing or vaccines for employers with 100 or more workers.
The White House rule for private businesses also was dealt a blow last month when a federal appeals court issued an injunction against it. In a subsequent ruling, a panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the court’s previous injunction and wrote that it’s likely the mandate will be struck down.
On Nov. 29, the White House Office of Management and Budget told federal agencies in a memo that they can wait until after the holidays to terminate or suspend employees who won’t get vaccinated.