Biden's Vaccine Mandate May Force Texas Hospital to Close

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Posted: Sep 16, 2021 7:00 AM
Biden's Vaccine Mandate May Force Texas Hospital to Close

Source: AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov

President Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers may have “devastating” effects on rural hospitals, as a fully vaccinated staff will become a requirement for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. 

Jerry Jasper, CEO at Brownfield Regional Medical Center in Texas, said that while most of his staff are vaccinated, there are about “20 to 25 percent” who are not. 

Losing those employees may be the end of the hospital, he told KCBD. And forgoing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements isn’t possible either, since “it accounts for 80 to 85 percent of their funding.”

“It’s huge in our rural community as all the other rural communities. We all have high poverty levels and stuff like that, so a lot of Medicaid usage in our communities and stuff like that,” Jasper said.

Larry Gray, CEO of Seminole Hospital District, had similar concerns.

“We have a large percentage of our revenue that comes from Medicare, Medicaid and those kinds of products,” he told KCBD. “It would be devastating for the community, frankly.”

Gray said a vaccine mandate is the wrong approach. 

“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? 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,” Gray said.

Vaccine mandates have already resulted in workers resigning rather than taking the jab. At the Lewis County Health System in Lowville, New York, for example, the maternity unit had to be temporarily closed because 30 employees resigned over the state's vaccine mandate. 

This week, a federal judge temporarily halted New York's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.