By Michelle Price
Special to the UCBJ
COOKEVILLE – Cookeville Regional Medical Center (CRMC) announced today in an email to all employees that they are requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022.
The hospital is taking this action to remain in compliance with the new rule by the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that requires that physicians, employees, volunteers, students, interns, vendors or anyone else who may come into contact with another person while at work must receive one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the email, “Non-compliance by hospitals would not only lead to fines but also the termination from federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.”
Staff members wishing to request vaccine accommodations have until Nov. 19 to submit the request on the appropriate forms to Angel Lewis, Senior Vice of Human Resources.
Accommodations can be requested by staff members with medical or religious reasons for refusing the vaccination, and a determination will be provided to the employee by the Covid-19 Vaccination Exemption Committee by Dec. 1.
Pregnant staff members may also request a pregnancy accommodation by submitting a request by Friday, Nov. 19.
Any staff member who has had COVID-19 or received an antibody infusion since Sept. 6, 2021, may request to delay the vaccination up to 90 days from their positive PCR Covid-19 Test/Antibody Infusion date. This request is also due by Friday, Nov. 19.
Staff members that elect not to comply with the mandatory vaccine policy by Dec. 5, will be placed on an unpaid leave of absence for up to seven (7) days. At the end of the seven (7) calendar days, staff that still elect to not comply will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment from CRMC.
According to the email, “CRMC employees who work through their assigned shifts through Dec. 4, 2021, and elect to separate from CRMC due to the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy will be eligible to receive their accrued PTO and may be considered for future employment if they comply with all CRMC policies and procedures. If an employee is rehired at a later date, their benefit eligibility date will be based on their rehire date. Employees who terminate and are enrolled in Medical, Dental and/or Vision Insurance Plans will be offered COBRA insurance for up to 18 months.”
Korth emphasized in the email, “I hope that our employees will continue to keep working with Cookeville Regional and serving our community.”