KALEIDA HEALTH’S IMPLEMENTATION OF NYS DOH COVID-19 VACCINE MANDATE FOR ALL HEALTHCARE WORKERS
As of September 7, 2021 more than 80% of Kaleida Health employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. The New York State Department of Health issued a summary order requiring hospital and nursing home workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 27, 2021.
On Friday September 3, CWA 1168, 1199SEIU, and IUOE Local 17 met with Kaleida Health Administration regarding the vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers. Kaleida Administration informed the Unions that they have added a new section to the existing Policy EH-12 regarding the NYS mandate. This Policy includes all Kaleida Health employees including those at off-site locations, such as the nursing homes, Larkin, Clinics, Labs, and employees working remotely.
Kaleida Health Administration created a medical review committee which will include Chief Medical Officers. This committee will oversee reviewing all COVID-19 medical exemption forms submitted by employees. This committee will approve or deny any medical exemptions submitted. Kaleida Health is required to send copies of these exemptions to New York State Department of Health (DOH).
According to the current NYS DOH guidelines, there are limited exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines. NYS decided that religious exemptions will not be accepted for the COVID-19 vaccine. Kaleida Administration has stated that they will not be challenging the State’s decision to not allow religious exemptions. Currently, there is no allowance for healthcare workers to test in lieu of vaccination.
The language from the NYS law states, that if an employee has not received their first vaccination by the September 27, 2021 deadline the employee will be terminated. Per Kaleida Administration, any unvaccinated employees will have to resign, retire, or be terminated. Kaleida Health Administration will be meeting with their managers Today, September 7, 2021 to discuss the implications of the mandate. Violating this law will impose fines on Kaleida Health and the reimbursement for Medicaid and Medicare will be jeopardized. CWA has been in touch with the Governor’s office requesting that the policy for healthcare workers model the teacher’s vaccination or testing policy to try to alleviate the increased staffing crisis that the mandate will impose.
A demand to bargain the effects of this mandate on the members has been issued by the Unions. Kaleida Administration agreed that the meeting to bargain will happen this week, the Unions will be prepared to bargain for the best interest for our members. We are concerned that if staffing decreases, floors will need to close, be consolidated, or that elective surgeries will need to be cancelled.
The following pages include the Vaccine Process Flow Chart that Kaleida Health plans to follow. Despite multiple requests, as of this update, Kaleida Administration has not forwarded the updated Policy (EH-12) presented to the Unions at the meeting on Friday, as agreed to.
If you have questions, please reach out to the union.