More Texas Hospitals and Medical Facilities Facing Staff Shortages Due to Vaccine Mandate | Texas

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(The Center Square) – Some rural West Texas hospitals are concerns on staff shortages due to President Joe Biden’s tenure on the COVID-19 vaccine, including one fearing he might have to shut down. Another rural hospital now says it may not be able to give birth, and a children’s facility is worried about how it would provide adequate care if it were forced to lay off 20% of its workers in order to not lose federal funding.

The recent federal mandate requires healthcare workers in Medicare and Medicaid-funded hospitals to take COVID-19 vaccines or the facilities where they work would lose federal dollars. The order has led many nurses and other staff nationwide to say they would instead retire or file a lawsuit. Major health unions have also said they will take legal action, arguing that the ordinance violates the very federal law used to initially issue the vaccine.

In Clifton, Texas, just west of Waco, the Goodall-Witcher Hospital has expressed concerns about how the tenure will affect its ability to deliver services. Its chief executive, Adam Willmann, said NPR he may no longer be able to give birth because many nurses in the maternity ward are not going to take the COVID-19 vaccines. Likewise, Ability HomeCare, a pediatric home care agency in San Antonio, predicts it may need to lay off 20% of its staff who will not receive the vaccines. Keeping employees who don’t get vaccines would cost institutions federal funds, which they say they can’t afford to lose.

At Goodall-Witcher, some experienced nurses who work in the maternity ward have not received the vaccines and are not planning to do so, Willmann said. Instead of being made redundant or the hospital losing money, they said they would retire instead.

“They are also nearing retirement age and a few of them have already said ‘I’m just going to retire,'” Willmann told NPR. And then some other nurses said, ‘Well, I’m just going to go and work for my husband’s construction company. “”

Of the 250 hospital workers, about 70 percent have received the vaccines, he said.

Ability HomeCare could also face a staff shortage, said CEO Pam Goble NPR. The company would have to lay off around 21% of its employees if the mandate were to be implemented. With fewer staff, she says, “I worry if our patients, who are medically fragile children, are going to receive the care they need.”

Ability HomeCare can support up to 900 children. Of the company’s 261 nurses and therapists, 56 said they would not get the injections, Goble said.

Nationally, a healthcare worker crisis worsens with nurses and staff resigning or retiring at a higher rate, The Associated Press reports.

The first hospital in the country to require a COVID-19 vaccine was Houston Methodist. Around 200 employees who were fired for refusing to be vaccinated, arguing the hospital requirement violates federal law and the United States Constitution. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only approved through emergency use authorization and, under federal law, cannot be mandatory as a condition of employment, complainants say.

The hospital maintains that the warrant is standard practice for its employees and that the lawsuit is without merit.

Their lawyer, Jared Woodfill, points out what lawyers representing nurses support nationally: Frontline workers who worked during state shutdowns during a pandemic were seen as heroes. A year later, they either lost their jobs or risk losing their jobs, even though many have built a natural immunity to contracting COVID while doing their jobs.

“Many of my clients have actually contracted COVID as a result of treating COVID positive patients, and the thank you the Methodist Hospital is sending them now is a pink slip,” he said.

Texas Children’s Hospital employees also filed a lawsuit against the hospital after its management refused to accept their exemption requests. Their lawyers warned that if the hospital’s exemption policy did not comply with federal law, they would also sue.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton have both vowed to fight the federal vaccine mandate.

Paxton is one of 24 Republican attorneys general who recently joined a coalition opposing an executive order requiring private sector employees to be vaccinated or tested weekly, otherwise employers will be fined. The move prompted many employers to issue warrants requiring gunfire as a condition of employment. It also led the MAs to say they would fight the mandate in court to protect businesses in their states.

The GAs argue that the mandate is “disastrous and counterproductive”, Warning it “represents not only a threat to individual freedom, but a public health catastrophe that will displace vulnerable workers and exacerbate a nationwide hospital worker crisis, with dire consequences for all Americans.”

Biden’s tenure does not include exemptions for those who work remotely, have religious objections or health concerns, or have already gained natural immunity after the virus has healed, they add.


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