Cleveland Clinic is requiring its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4, in accordance with federal mandates, the health system announced Friday.
Earlier this month, the administration of President Joe Biden announced details of rules for large companies with more than 100 employees and health professionals working in facilities that receive payments from Medicare or Medicaid.
The new vaccination rules, announced in September, were officially issued this month by the Federal Ministry of Labor. Private sector companies with at least 100 employees must have those employees vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4, or the employees must be tested weekly.
Companies that fail to abide by the rules can be fined $13,653 per employee for failing to meet the January 4 deadline, and up to $136,532 for intentional non-compliance.
Unlike the rules for other major employers, the mandate for health care companies that accept money from Medicare or Medicaid does not allow testing in lieu of vaccination.
Legal efforts are underway to prevent the mandates from taking effect.
“Under the CMS rule, employees who are not fully vaccinated by January 4, 2022 and who do not have a religious or medical exemption that can be accommodated will no longer work for us,” the Cleveland Clinic said in its announcement.
In the Akron area, Cleveland Clinic operates Akron General, Mercy Hospital in Canton, and Medina Hospital.
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Pending the rule, the clinic said it has put in place a “COVID-19 Vaccine Validation Program” to collect the vaccination status of all its healthcare providers at all of its locations in the US.
“We are proud that the majority of our healthcare providers have already been vaccinated and we encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to get their vaccine as soon as possible,” the statement reads.
About 80% of Cleveland Clinic employees were vaccinated against COVID-19 early this month.
COVID Vaccine Requirements at Summa Health, Akron Children’s, Western Reserve Hospital
Summa Health was the first hospital in the Akron area to require COVID-19 vaccinations for its approximately 8,000 employees, and says employees must be fully vaccinated by October 31. Failure to receive the COVID-19 vaccine leads to progressive discipline up to and including termination. The requirement also applied to hospital salespeople, contractors, students, volunteers and Summa employees who work from home.
Nearly a week after the deadline to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, Summa Health said 91% of its employees (an estimated 7,300 employees) showed evidence of full vaccination.
An additional 7% (566 employees) received medical or religious waivers and 2% (approximately 180 employees, comprising both clinical and non-clinical personnel) face disciplinary action or termination. The disciplinary process will be completed in early December.
Akron Children’s Hospital earlier this month began requiring employees to show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly tests. At the beginning of this month, approximately 80% of Children’s employees have been fully vaccinated.
The Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls, which currently does not require employees to receive the vaccine, had an 85% vaccination rate at the beginning of this month.
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