Effective November 5, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued rules/regulations requiring certain healthcare facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement programs (without regard to the number of employees they have) to ensure all employees are fully–vaccinated by January 4, 2022. In compliance with the new CMS requirements and to promote the health and safety of all employees, ICMC is implementing this COVID–19 Vaccination Policy.
Vaccination against viruses and other diseases improves the health and wellness of employees, reduces absences, decreases healthcare expenses, reduces doctor visits, and improves morale. In some situations, vaccination also allows individuals to unmask and not socially distance or quarantine after potential exposure. ICMC takes seriously its responsibility and duty to provide employees and visitors with an environment free of recognized and preventable/mitigable hazards, including COVID–19 and other viruses and infections.
The purpose of this policy is to help provide for a safe work environment during the COVID–19 pandemic and safeguard the health and safety of employees and visitors. This policy is intended to maximize vaccination rates against COVID–19 among Company personnel, especially those whose work requires their presence in settings involving direct interaction with others or business travel. The goal is to protect—to the greatest extent possible—our employees and visitors, their families, and the broader community from COVID–19 as we all do our part in the fight against the worldwide pandemic.
This policy is intended to comply with all federal, state, and local laws and is based upon guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other public health and licensing authorities as applicable. However, this policy does not assume any legal duty not mandated by law.
Iron County Medical Center (ICMC) requires vaccination for all employees. The provisions of this policy apply to all employees subject to the accommodations and exemptions process detailed below. Where permitted by law and unless otherwise indicated below, this policy also applies to contractors and vendors with regular access and presence in ICMC’s facilities. The policy applies with respect to COVID–19 vaccinations that have been authorized for use by applicable regulatory authorities, including those vaccines that have received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
ICMC requires all staff (which includes all hospital employees, licensed practitioners, students, trainees and volunteers, together with all individuals who provide care, treatment or other services for the hospital or its patients, under contract or by other arrangements) to receive a COVID–19 vaccination as a condition of employment. By no later than December 4th, 2021 (all newly hired employees will be subject to the vaccination requirements, including receipt of a single–dose vaccine or the first shot of a two–dose vaccine, before providing care, treatment or other services), employees must either (a) become fully vaccinated against COVID–19 by obtaining all required doses of an approved COVID–19 vaccination and provide proof of vaccination to ICMC as described below; or (b) request an accommodation from the COVID–19 vaccination requirement
as described below. In accordance with CDC guidelines, a person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID–19 once it has been at least two (2) weeks since receiving the last required dose of the vaccine. (For example, a person who receives the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose, and a person who receives the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the single dose.) Employees should note that some COVID–19 vaccines may require two or more doses multiple weeks apart before the recipient is considered fully vaccinated, and thus employees should ensure that they are able to receive all required doses by the deadline set forth above. Staff, including those hired in the future, who have received a COVID–19 vaccination
neither licensed or authorized by the FDA nor listed on the WHO emergency use list will receive an FDA licensed or authorized vaccination series after 28 days. Employees who fail to provide proof of vaccination or a weekly negative COVID–19 test result will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Employees who are unable to be vaccinated and/or comply with applicable COVID–19 safety protocols due to a disability, a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates vaccination, a medical condition requiring a delay in vaccination, objections due to sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances, or as otherwise required by law, may request an accommodation or exemption. Employees who are granted an accommodation or exemption shall be required to be in compliance with ICMC’s COVID19 Mitigation Protocol which includes use of appropriate PPE to include wearing a mask at all times while working and submitting proof of a negative COVID–19 test at least once every seven days (as required below).
Employees will be reimbursed for the cost of the vaccine not covered by the employee’s healthcare insurance, if any, provided appropriate expense reimbursement documentation is submitted to ICMC on a timely basis and in accordance with ICMC’s expense reimbursement policy. In addition, non–exempt employees will be paid for the time taken to receive the required vaccination doses. Employees who wish to schedule receiving the vaccine during normal working hours may request appropriate scheduling changes from their supervisors, which may be approved or denied based on the business needs of ICMC. Employees are required to notify ICMC once they are fully vaccinated, and employees must provide proof of vaccination status upon request of ICMC. Acceptable proof of vaccination status include: (a) the record of immunization from a healthcare provider or pharmacy; (b) a copy of the COVID–19 Vaccination Record Card; (c) a copy of medical records documenting the vaccination (please redact any information not related to vaccination status); (d) a copy of immunization records from a public health, state, or tribal immunization information system; or (e) a copy of any other official documentation that contains the type of vaccine administered, the date(s) of
administration, and the name of the healthcare professional(s) or clinic(s) administering the vaccine.
Employees should provide acceptable proof of vaccination status to ICMC by personally bringing in a copy of their record, or emailing a copy of the record to the ICMC Infection Prevention Nurse. In providing proof of vaccination, employees should not disclose any other medical information, disability–related information, or genetic information. The vaccination information collected by ICMC will be used for the purposes of administering ICMC’s COVID–19 policies and mitigation measures, for contact tracing purposes after a potential exposure, and to help ensure a safe work environment. Employees who do not verify their vaccination status with ICMC will be considered unvaccinated for the purpose of this policy.
Vaccination status may be taken into account for the purposes of determining safety protocols an employee must follow in the workplace, business travel restrictions, scheduling, locating employees within a facility, job assignments and duties, and interactions with customers, guests, vendors, and other third parties. Depending on the current guidance and requirements from public health authorities and regulatory agencies at any given time, fully vaccinated employees who have verified their vaccination status with ICMC may have the benefit of relaxed safety protocols and business travel restrictions, including:
• Those in accordance with safety measures based on the current CDC Guidance.
Employees who are not yet fully vaccinated must continue to follow all COVID–19 mitigation measures in effect, including wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, quarantining after exposures, testing, and all other restrictions that may be imposed by ICMC as recommended or required by applicable authorities. These additional protocols and restrictions may also result in remote working, transfer to a different position or location, inability to participate in certain in–person group activities, or commencement of a leave of absence until vaccination is possible or the risk of contracting and spreading the virus ends.
Employees may receive testing through ICMC or employees may obtain COVID–19 tests through a medical provider of their choice and submit copies of the negative test results to the ICMC Infection Prevention Nurse. For purposes of this policy, acceptable COVID–19 tests include any test that has been cleared, approved, or authorized (including in an Emergency Use Authorization).
by the FDA to detect current infection with the SARS–CoV–2 virus, provided (a) the test is administered in accordance with the authorized instructions and (b) the test was not both self–administered and self–read unless observed by a designated Company representative or an authorized telehealth proctor. For example, home test kits or other self–test kits are not acceptable unless witnessed by a designated Company representative or proctored through an appropriate telehealth service.
Negative test results must be submitted to the ICMC Infection Prevention Nurse weekly. Employees must promptly notify the ICMC Infection Prevention Nurse upon receiving a positive COVID–19 test or upon being diagnosed with COVID–19 by a licensed healthcare provider. Employees who test positive or are diagnosed with COVID–19 will be subject to isolation in accordance with current CDC guidelines and company procedures. Employees who have tested positive or have been diagnosed with COVID–19 will not be required to provide weekly test results under this policy for a period of 90 days following the date of the positive test or diagnosis. Employees who believe they may need an exemption or accommodation to this policy or to any of the COVID–19 mitigation measures that apply to vaccinated or unvaccinated employees due to
disability, pregnancy, or sincerely held religious beliefs and practices should request an accommodation as detailed below.
Employees who are unable to be vaccinated and/or comply with applicable COVID–19 safety protocols due to a disability, a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates vaccination, a medical condition requiring a delay in vaccination, objections due to sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances, or as otherwise required by law, may request an accommodation or exemption. If required or allowed by law, ICMC will engage in an interactive process to determine: (i) whether an accommodation should be granted; and (ii) if granted, whether ICMC can provide a reasonable accommodation without imposing an undue hardship on ICMC or creating a direct threat to the health or safety of the employee or others in the workplace.
To request an accommodation for one of the above reasons, an employee must complete an ICMC Medical Accommodation Request Form or a Religious Accommodation Request Form (available from ICMC Human Resources Department or the ICMC Infection Prevention Nurse). Once ICMC receives the accommodation request form, it will engage in an interactive process to identify potential accommodations on a case–by–case basis. Employees must cooperate and participate in this interactive process honestly and in good faith, and employees may be asked to provide additional information in support of their accommodation request. Even
if a disability or sincerely held religious belief is established by an employee, the request may be denied due the seriousness of the COVID–19 pandemic and the resulting undue hardship and/or
direct threat posed by the lack of vaccination, or an alternative accommodation may be given that maximizes safety despite the employee’s inability to get vaccinated, depending on the circumstances. Similarly, even if a disability or sincerely held religious belief is established by an employee, safety protocols and other restrictions or consequences, such as those described above, shall still be imposed.
If ICMC received medical– and disability–related information during the interactive process to discuss an accommodation, then all information pertaining to the employee’s underlying medical conditions, as well as the accommodation process and discussions, will also be kept confidential to the greatest extent possible and in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and any other applicable law or regulation.
Staff allowed an accommodation or exemption shall be responsible for the weekly COVID19 testing costs. ICMC shall provide CDC approved COVID19 tests at cost to such staff.
As stated in its other policies, ICMC does not discriminate against its employees or applicants with regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. ICMC also accommodates disabilities and sincerely held religious beliefs to the extent required by law and prohibits retaliation for any conduct protected by applicable law. Although an accommodation request may be denied (or an alternative, modified accommodation will be offered) if it poses an undue burden on ICMC and/or presents a direct threat to the health and safety of the employee or others, ICMC will not retaliate against any employee merely for requesting an accommodation, reporting safety violations, or any other protected activity.
If you believe you have been treated in a manner not in accordance with this policy, please notify ICMC Human Resource Department immediately.