Cookeville Regional Medical Center saw at least 99 percent of employees undertake the process to meet vaccine status requirements.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) required all facility staff to either have begun vaccinations or obtain an exemption by January 27th. Chief Strategy Officer Ricky Shelton:
“We’re very thankful,” Shelton said. “Our goal was that we wouldn’t lose any employees and we regret the loss of anyone from our organization. Our goal is always to provide the safest and most effective care to our patients while still following the requirements of the CMS mandates.”
Shelton said that a few individuals chose not to participate in this process which resulted in a separation from CRMC. He said that they appreciate all of the staff at the hospital from nurses to physicians to facility staff for providing excellent care to the members of the community.
Shelton said that the need for this process came about as a requirement from CMS. He said that CRMC took significant efforts to comply with those rules, but ended up pausing implementation efforts due to an injunction by federal courts. He said that once the U.S. Supreme Court considered the matter and upheld the CMS COVID-19 vaccination mandate, the hospital had to re-establish its previous efforts and finalize a process that ensures all staff becomes either fully vaccinated or obtain a religious or clinical exemption.
“It was tied to conditions of participation with CMS, or Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services,” Shelton said. “Which about 60 percent of the funding for Cookeville Regional Medical Center, the reimbursement funding for people’s care, comes through that. So for medical centers to not comply, means they’re putting the reimbursement, that obviously allows the hospital to provide care to patients, they’re putting that at risk.”
Shelton said that as the process was ongoing and dates were set, vaccine clinics were offered. He said that as time went on, the hospital saw a steady number of people take part in that. For those who received their first dose of a multi-dose vaccine before January 27th, those staff members must receive their second dose by February 28th.