Texas Hospital CEO Says Facility May Stop Delivering Babies Over Vaccine Mandate

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.
September 26, 2021Updated: September 26, 2021

The head of the Goodall-Witcher hospital in rural Texas expressed concerns that the facility may have to stop delivering babies due to a recent vaccine mandate handed down by the Biden administration stipulating that health care workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-funded hospitals get the vaccine.

Chief Executive Adam Willmann said that some experienced nurses are not vaccinated and don’t plan on getting the shot. Some of those nurses, he said in a recent interview, work in the hospital’s maternity ward.

“They are also near retirement age and a few of them have already voiced that ‘I will just retire,'” Willmann told NPR. “And then a couple of other nurses said, ‘Well, I’ll just go work for my husband’s construction company.'”

Willmann said he has been pushing hard to get all of his 250 employees to take one of the vaccines, noting that so far, vaccination rates are at around 70 percent.

But despite the mandates, “we’re kind of at that point where everybody that’s willing to get it, got it,” he said.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced sweeping mandates for hospitals, federal workers and contractors, and employees at private businesses with 100 or more employees. But the administration still hasn’t finalized details of any of the mandates, coming as some Republican-led states have threatened lawsuits.

Tom Mee, CEO of the North Country Healthcare system in New Hampshire, said it’s likely that other rural hospitals will have troubles with staffing over the mandate.

“It’s a scene that you’re going to see repeated throughout the United States,” Mee told NPR. “I’ve been in health care for 34 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

But Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the broadcaster that the White House “did not undertake this decision lightly,” referring to the vaccine mandate.

A hospital in upstate New York faces a similar crisis with its maternity ward. A number of nurses at the Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville resigned instead of taking the shot, meaning that babies temporarily can’t be delivered at the facility, Lewis County Health System Chief Executive Officer Gerald Cayer said about two weeks ago.

“If we can pause the service and now focus on recruiting nurses who are vaccinated, we will be able to reengage in delivering babies here in Lewis County,” Cayer said at a news conference on Sept. 10.

More dramatically, the chief executive of Brownfield Regional Medical Center, also in rural Texas, warned that the whole health care facility would likely shut down.

Because of the vaccine mandate, Brownfield CEO Jerry Jasper told KCBD that “20 percent of my, probably 20 to 25 percent of my staff will have to go away if that’s the case.” That would then cause the facility to shut down, he said, adding the hospital can’t lose Medicaid or Medicare funding.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Goodall-Witcher  for comment.