KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Several hospitals in the Knoxville area will require all health professionals to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issue a COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
Blount Memorial Hospital, Covenant Health, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Sweetwater Hospital Association and The University of Tennessee Medical Center plan to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Clinical, non-clinical and medical personnel, as well as students, volunteers, contract workers and vendors must have started the first dose of the primary COVID-19 vaccine series or received a single dose of the single-dose vaccine by December 5, 2021, unless they qualify and are approved for a religious or medical exemption from the vaccine.
The two-dose series to be fully vaccinated should be completed by January 4, 2022.
“CMS is very clear that failure to comply with this mandate will result in severe penalties for hospitals, up to and including exclusion from Medicare,” said a joint release from the local hospitals.
The press release states that while they have faced staffing challenges during the pandemic, team members must meet the requirement to continue working in their facilities. They add that the majority of their employees are already fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Covenant Health hospitals consist of Claiborne Medical Center, Cumberland Medical Center, Fort Loudoun Medical Center, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, LeConte Medical Center, Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System, Parkwest Medical Center, and the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center.
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