Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Weeks of Aug. 30 and Sept. 6
Posted on September 10, 2021
The MHA and its member hospitals continue to urge residents to get vaccinated to guard against the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19. As of Sept. 8, more than 66% of Michiganders 16 and older had received at least one dose of the lifesaving vaccine, and 56.5% of all eligible residents aged 12 and older were fully vaccinated as of Sept. 10.
The MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.
President Biden Announces New Vaccination Mandates
President Joe Biden announced Sept. 9 new steps to combat COVID-19, including several vaccination mandates for workers across the nation. Among them are several of particular interest to healthcare providers:
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will require vaccinations for most healthcare settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid payment, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings and home health agencies, in addition to the nursing facilities for which the mandate was recently announced. The requirement will include clinical staff, contractors, volunteers and staff who are not involved in direct patient care.
Through an Emergency Temporary Standard issued by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), all employers with 100 or more employees will be required to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 infection weekly.
Additional support will be provided for hospitals facing capacity issues by doubling the number of Department of Defense clinician teams deployed to assist overburdened local healthcare workers.
The Biden administration will increase by 50% its weekly shipments of monoclonal antibody treatment to states and allow more providers, including pharmacists, to administer it.
In a Sept. 9 statement, American Hospital Association (AHA) President and CEO Rick Pollack noted the concerted efforts of the nation’s healthcare providers to encourage vaccination for both their workforce and the broader community. Both the AHA and MHA will be reviewing details of the new policies regarding implementation, timing and the need for appropriate exceptions to accommodate medical and religious concerns. Members should look for additional updates on these announcements soon.
Pollack also stressed the potential for the mandates to worsen the already severe workforce shortages in healthcare facilities and called on the administration to partner with providers in developing strategies to address the problem to ensure hospitals and health systems have the necessary human resources to battle the pandemic and maintain essential health services.
Members with questions on COVID-19 vaccines may contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.
Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).
Posted in: Issues in Healthcare, Member News