Rome News-Tribune

Mandatory vaccinatio­n for FMC’S employees

No timeline set for program affecting Floyd, Polk, Cherokee hospitals

- By John Bailey

Floyd Medical Center and its affiliated hospitals, under the leadership of Atrium Health, will require that employees will receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.

Citing the increased number of COVID-19 patients recently, FMC

CEO Kurt Stuenkel wrote that Atrium Health is giving FMC, Polk Medical Center and Cherokee Medical Center some flexibilit­y in the implementa­tion of the vaccine.

The following letter to employees stated the entire Atrium Health system will be required to take the vaccine and the timeline for implementa­tion will be announced later.

“This change is reflective of recent rises in COVID infections, the Delta COVID-19 variant, science supports the effectiven­ess of the vaccines and the growing numbers of providers in the state and national level in the health care industries who have adopted similar policies,” Stuenkel wrote in an email to employees.

Last week the Georgia Hospital Associatio­n issued a statement encouragin­g hospitals to require the vaccine, along with exceptions for medical or religious reasons.

FMC spokespers­on Dan Bevels confirmed the authentici­ty of the letter sent out on Thursday.

Other hospitals in Georgia have begun the process of requiring vaccines including Piedmont Healthcare, Trinity Health and the St. Mary’s Health Care system, according to Georgia Health News.

The Piedmont and St. Mary’s moves appear to be the first such announced worker vaccine requiremen­ts at Georgia hospitals, industry officials say.

Piedmont will require doctors, hospital leaders and new employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by Sept. 1 and Michigan-based Trinity announced that employees at its 91 hospitals will be required to be vaccinated.

St. Mary’s facilities in Athens, Greensboro and Lavonia will also be required to take the COVID-19 vaccine. The requiremen­t also applies to St. Mary’s medical staff offices and outpatient facilities.

At this point Redmond Regional Medical Center, which is in negotiatio­ns with Adventheal­th that may be finalized by August, has not mandated the vaccine.

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Kurt Stuenkel

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