11 set for termination from MRH after refusing vaccine mandate

Tuesday was the deadline set by Memorial Regional Health staff to become compliant with the state mandate that healthcare facilities attain 100% employee vaccination status against COVID-19. Eleven MRH employees, who refused the mandate, have been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending their termination from the organization.

“Colorado’s mandate has been in effect since October 1, but MRH adopted a timeline that required compliance by the end of the day, Jan. 4, 2022,” wrote MRH interim CEO Jennifer Riley in an email to the Craig Press. “As of (Tuesday), MRH has 400 employees, direct contractors and support staff that have complied with the state’s vaccine mandate.”

Of the 11 who did not comply, Riley reported six are clinical and five are non-clinical. Seven of the 11 employees are full-time employees and four are per-diem.

“These employees will all meet with Human Resources on Friday to finalize their exit from the organization,” Riley wrote.

MRH had initially delayed a previous deadline for vaccination in the fall when the Colorado Hospital Association gave the hospital reason to believe the mandate from the state might be rescinded. When that did not happen, the hospital reached an agreement for a grace period from the state through later this month, but, in the meantime, the federal offices of Medicare and Medicaid instituted a similar mandate. Though that mandate is being held up in court, the state mandate was about to come due anyway, and the hospital elected not to delay the timeline any further.

“The loss of staff is difficult, given the nationwide staffing shortages all industries are facing,” Riley wrote. “However, MRH will not have to reduce any services due to the loss of these employees.”

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