370 Beaumont workers suspended for refusing COVID vaccines. 70 more quit.
About 70 Beaumont Health workers resigned rather than take COVID-19 vaccines and 370 have been suspended for failing to meet an Oct. 18 deadline for vaccination, the Southfield-based health system announced Thursday.
“We are very pleased to report the vast majority of Beaumont employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19,” the health system said in a statement. Beaumont operates eight metro Detroit hospitals and has about 33,000 workers
“We hope that those 370 employees will choose to get vaccinated and return to work soon. If they choose to not meet our vaccine requirements by Nov. 16, their employment will be terminated.”
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The hospital said it did not have details to share on how many employees who resigned or were suspended were nurses, doctors or other frontline medical workers.
Another 7 percent of Beaumont’s workforce — or 2,300 people — were granted exemptions to the mandate. The majority cited a religious exemption, said Mark Geary, a Beaumont spokesperson.
Beaumont is one of at least 10 health systems in Michigan that require workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.
Henry Ford Health System, the first in the state to announce a coronavirus vaccine mandate in late June, lost about 400 of its workers because they refused to get vaccinated before its September deadline. Another 1,900 of its workers were granted exemptions from the vaccine requirement for religious or medical reasons.
The vaccine mandates come at a time when health systems across the state are also grappling with a staffing crisis, and frequently don’t have enough workers to handle the volume of patients both with coronavirus and other illnesses who are seeking hospital care.
The situation led both Beaumont and Henry Ford to shut down more than 100 available hospital beds in September because there weren’t enough workers to care for the patients who would fill them.
COVID-19 vaccines also are required for workers at Trinity Health, Ascension Health, Spectrum Health, Veterans Health Administration facilities, Bronson Healthcare, Michigan Medicine, OSF-HealthCare, and Munson Healthcare, with varying deadlines for when employees must be fully vaccinated.
Stories from the front
Bridge Magazine, Detroit Free Press and Michigan Radio are teaming up to report on Michigan hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. We will be sharing accounts of the challenges doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel face as they work to treat patients and save lives. If you work in a Michigan hospital, we would love to hear from you. You can contact reporters Robin Erb firstname.lastname@example.org at Bridge, Kristen Jordan Shamus email@example.com at the Free Press and Kate Wells firstname.lastname@example.org at Michigan Radio.
Though Sparrow, McLaren Health Care and the Detroit Medical Center don’t currently have vaccine mandates for workers, they all will soon likely have to require them to continue to get federal Medicare/Medicaid funding.
On Sept. 9, President Joe Biden announced a sweeping mandate that would require health care workers at nearly every hospital and health system in the country get vaccinated or submit to weekly coronavirus tests.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now drafting detailed rules implementing the orders. But when they will be posted and enforced is still unknown.
Contact Kristen Shamus: email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus.
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