Today, Greene County Medical Center made an important announcement for the safety of their employees, patients and the communities they serve. All team members, including employees, providers, contracted workers and volunteers, will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1, 2021.
“Our employees, providers, contracted workers and volunteers play a vital role in the care we provide our communities. By investing in them and providing a safe environment, we are also investing in our communities,” stated Dr. Laurie Connolly. “We also thrive on medical facts and science, both of which are telling us the best path forward for our organization and our community is to be vaccinated. We are trusting the science and leading the way; along with encouraging our community members to be fully vaccinated.”
Like many other health care systems, this requirement will allow Greene County Medical Center to continue to provide excellent care to their patients in a safe and caring environment, and at the same time protecting their own team members. As of August 31, 74% of Greene County Medical Center full-time and part-time team members are vaccinated. As of today, September 7, Greene County has exceeded over 1,000 COVID-19 cases, with 1020 cases reported by Public Health.
“Our decision was extremely intentional and comes after several weeks of discussion and input from our leaders, other Iowa rural hospitals, and information from other healthcare entities throughout the country,” stated Brian Benson, interim CEO. “We deliberately sought to understand various perspectives and consider the impact to our team members. Our decision also comes as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination was fully approved by the FDA Monday, August 23, 2021.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), evidence indicates that people fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are less likely than unvaccinated persons to acquire COVID-19 and to transmit it to others. Fully vaccinated people are less likely to have severe illness or be hospitalized with COVID-19. Breakthrough cases are often shorter, allowing people to return to work and daily activities sooner.
Long term care team members may be required to be vaccinated earlier based on a new emergency regulation announced recently by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Greene County Medical Center team members may apply for religious and medical exemptions, and also be approved for deferral during pregnancy. The decision to require COVID-19 vaccination at Greene County Medical Center was overwhelmingly supported by the leadership team, providers, and the Greene County Medical Center Board of Directors.