Hospitals in Southwest Florida complying with vaccine mandate after Supreme Court decision

Reporter: Sydney Persing
Published: Updated:
Hospitals will need to mandate vaccines after a Supreme Court decision. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Hospitals nationwide are now forced to enforce a vaccine mandate for frontline workers.

But can hospitals afford to lose more staff members due to the Supreme Court approval of the mandate?

Southwest Florida hospitals are saying they are going to comply with the order.

The Supreme Court blocked the mandate for big businesses but allowed the Biden administration to mandate vaccines for the large majority of healthcare workers.

Dr. Marisssa Levine, director of public health at the University of South Florida, said there’s a lot of concern because hospitals are already shortstaffed.

“Not only because of just numbers of people able and competent enough to meet the need, but also the fact that staff are getting sick too, from omicron,” Levine said.

Now some staff will refuse to comply with the mandate and walk away.

Mary Mayhew, president of Florida’s Hospital Association, said some hospitals don’t have a choice.

NCH already had a mandate. Lee Health did not but now will.

“We’re following the, you know, the CMS guidelines and gathering all of our vaccination information from our staff, our vendors of volunteers, etc,” Lee Health CEO and President Larry Antonucci said earlier this week.

The state legislature passed a series of laws banning vaccine mandates last November.

The state’s Agency for Healthcare Administration announced it won’t force compliance.

For most hospitals, that likely doesn’t matter.

“It doesn’t change the fact that hospitals are obligated to comply with the Medicare program because of their role in serving millions of elderly Floridians,” Mayhew said.

Mayhew said hospitals are working closely with the state and the federal government to avoid any fines.

Mary Daniel’s husband has Alzheimer’s. He lives in a nursing home far away from her. Now, she is concerned about how the mandate will affect staffing at the nursing home.

She became famous after taking a job as a dishwasher in March of 2020 at the nursing home after it closed to the public in order to be closer to her husband.

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