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Utah healthcare providers halt vaccination requirement for employees

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Posted at 6:03 PM, Dec 01, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Two major Utah healthcare providers have paused all requirements that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Wednesday's announcement comes a day after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that stopped President Biden's national vaccine mandate for all health care workers.

Intermountain Healthcare and MountainStar/HCA have temporarily stopped the requirement pending the outcome of the federal lawsuit and a clearer direction.

The University of Utah Health said in a statement that their vaccine policy is remaining the same for now as they "await additional direction from state leaders."

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In an statement obtained by FOX 13, Intermountain says the vaccine mandate will be paused until there is clearer direction from the courts.

"While awaiting the outcome of national litigation regarding government requirements for COVID vaccinations for caregivers, we and other major Utah healthcare providers (including MountainStar/HCA Healthcare), are temporarily pausing enforcement of the vaccine requirement for caregivers until there is clearer direction from the courts.

We have been actively monitoring lawsuits filed for these regulations and evaluating how they impact us. Yesterday, November 30, a federal court issued a nationwide stay for the CMS regulation. This means the CMS mandate has been put on hold and is currently not enforceable against any healthcare providers until further review by the appellate courts.

Additionally, there is pending litigation on the Federal Contractor mandate, including a case that involves Utah and Idaho. Because of this, we are temporarily pausing enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement until we have clearer direction from the courts.

Before this pause, 95% of caregivers in the Intermountain system had complied with the government requirement."

In a statement from MountainStar Healthcare/HCA Healthcare, leaders urged colleagues to get vaccinated, despite the pause in mandate.

"Prior to the CMS action creating a mandate, MountainStar Healthcare/HCA Healthcare had encouraged our colleagues to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and made vaccines readily available, but we had not mandated vaccination. Because recent federal court decisions have resulted in the CMS mandate being put on hold indefinitely, we have paused our vaccine requirement, except in states that have mandated vaccination. We continue to strongly encourage our colleagues to be vaccinated as a critical step to protect individuals from the virus and the majority of HCA Healthcare colleagues have been fully vaccinated," the statement reads.

Because they are private companies, Intermountain and MountainStar/HCA could have continued on with their own mandate despite the ruling, but elected not to hold off.