Hospital administrators in Lubbock, Texas are concerned that the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate will force them to lay off large portions of their workforce or risk losing federal funding, either of which would result in the hospitals being forced to shut down.
The story: On Monday, Lubbock hospital executives voiced criticism of the Biden Administration’s recently announced vaccine mandate, which requires “COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies.”
Brownfield Regional Medical Center CEO Jerry Jasper expressed concern that, in order to be compliant with the new mandate, he could be forced to lay off the unvaccinated members of his staff.
“20 percent of my, probably 20 to 25 percent of my staff will have to go away if that’s the case,” Brown told KCBD.
In detail: On the other hand, if Brown and other healthcare providers fail to require that their staff be vaccinated, then they could risk losing crucial funding from Medicare and Medicaid.
“It’s huge in our rural community as all the other rural communities,” Brown said. “We all have high poverty levels and stuff like that, so a lot of Medicaid usage in our communities and stuff like that.”
Larry Gray, CEO of Seminole Hospital District, agrees with Brown’s assessment.
“Well it would be devastating for the community, frankly,” Gray stated. “We have a large percentage of our revenue that comes from Medicare, Medicaid and those kinds of products.”
While both of the administrators interviewed for the story encouraged COVID-19 vaccinations as safe and effective, they do not believe the decision should be forced upon anyone.
“I think the mandate is just a terrible message because if the vaccinations are working, why do you have to mandate people to get the vaccines?” asked Gray. “What happens to individual choice and medical decisions between the patient and their doctor, which is all of the things that we’re trying to support?”
Worth noting: For his part, Brown did not rule out the possibility that Texas Governor Abbott could intercede and challenge the federal government on the mandate.
“How’s Governor Abbott going to take this?” Brown inquired. “He hasn’t complied with anything federal laws have done so far.”
“So, we’re going have to, here in Texas at least, we’re going to have to wait and see how that plays out,” he concluded.