KINGMAN – Employees at Kingman Regional Medical Center will need to be fully immunized or be granted medical or religious exemption by January 4, 2022 due to a recent decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
About 68% of KRMC’s workforce is currently fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the hospital. The new rule will affect around 600 employees who are not vaccinated, KRMC wrote in a press release.
On Friday, November 5, the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released an interim final rule requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all workers in all Medicare / Medicaid certified health facilities.
The rule aims to protect both healthcare workers and patients from COVID-19. Kingman Regional Medical Center wrote that it informed staff of the policy change on Thursday, November 11.
“There is no way forward that allows us to receive funding from CMS and not be in compliance,” said Will McConnell, CEO of KRMC. “CMS represents 75% of the services provided to patients. “
According to CMS rule, KRMC must fulfill the staff vaccination requirements in two phases.
All KRMC employees must have received, at a minimum, the first dose of a primary series or a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine, or have started the medical or religious exemption process, by December 6 2021.
By January 4, 2022, all eligible personnel must have completed the primary vaccination series (for example, the second dose of mRNA vaccine), or have obtained a medical or religious exemption.
Until now, KRMC’s COVID vaccination policy has been voluntary and based on individual choice, the hospital wrote. Thanks to the interim final rule issued by CMS, compliance is a condition of participation for all healthcare facilities that receive payments from CMS. Therefore, all KRMC employees are required to be vaccinated against COVID, unless they obtain an authorized medical or religious exemption.
“We promote vaccination as the safest and most effective approach to help prevent serious illness and reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19,” McConnell continued in the statement. “Due to our belief that the COVID-19 vaccine should be an individual’s personal choice, we have not previously made it mandatory for any KRMC employee. With the new CMS rule, there is no other option.