Central Iowa hospitals begin enforcement of vaccine mandates

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DES MOINES, IOWA — Iowa healthcare workers could be out of a job if they have not already gotten their COVID-19 vaccine.

Monday, Nov. 1, marks the deadline for MercyOne Medical Center, Broadlawns Medical Center, and UnityPoint Health – Des Moines to get vaccinated.

The hospital system notified its employees back in August they will all need to be vaccinated by Nov. 1. However, there will be exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

At Broadlawns Medical Center, 96% of its staff have received both doses of the COVID vaccine, and 4% have been accommodated for religious and medical exemptions.

UnityPoint Health – Des Moines released this statement,

“We are UnityPoint Health – Des Moines. The new bill set forth modified criteria for religious and medical COVID-19 vaccine exemptions. By the end of today, Iowa team members who do not comply with our COVID-19 vaccination policy will be placed on administrative leave beginning Nov. 2 rather than be terminated. The purpose of administrative leave is to allow for consideration of exemptions under the new Iowa law. This bill does not change the original intent of our COVID-19 vaccination policy, which requires vaccination or qualification for an exemption.”

MercyOne Medical Center released this statement,

“Per the new Iowa law, which requires employers to grant an employees’ written request for a waiver from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement if it meets specific criteria, MercyOne is evaluating our policy to ensure we are in compliance.
MercyOne Central Iowa and Northeast Iowa have extended our vaccination requirement deadline to Nov. 12.
Colleagues now must submit their proof of vaccination or file for a waiver before Nov. 12. MercyOne Central Iowa and Northeast Iowa colleagues who were previously denied an exemption will have the opportunity to file for a COVID-19 vaccine exemption waiver.
We are committed to ensuring we comply with all state and federal laws and regulations.”

On Friday, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill that allows people to opt-out of vaccine mandates allowing employees to receive an exemption without seeing a doctor.

The new law also allows workers who lost their job due to a vaccination mandate by their employer to receive unemployment benefits.

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