NCH is now requiring that all its workers be vaccinated by Sept. 16.
According to a news release, all leaders, physicians, providers, contract staff and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment.
More than a week ago, the hospital system said it was requiring that new hires be vaccinated, but with the latest surge due to the delta variant, the hospital announced the change Friday.
“This pandemic is five times stronger than the transitional pandemic with this delta variant,” said Jon Kling, director of Critical Care, Emergency Department, and Dialysis at NCH.
NCH on Friday said it was treating 97 patients for COVID-19. For them, that number is too high. They met with physicians and scientists, ultimately making the decision to have mandatory vaccines for all staff.
“I know we are one of the first hospitals in Florida to make this move,” Kling said.
Why? Because patients come first.
“That’s the most important for the decision,” Kling said. “It’s our duty to make sure our patients feel comfortable, safe coming here for their health care needs and not to ignore them, more importantly.”
Marivel Coitec works in the medical field and received the vaccine herself for that same reason.
“I do work with mainly the elderly and lots of seniors, they have other conditions, so I didn’t do it so much for me but for them.”
Not everyone thinks a shot in the arm will solve the pandemic problem.
“Even if you are vaccinated, you still have to wear a face mask, so I don’t see the point of vaccinating. If you wear a mask and I’m wearing a mask, we shouldn’t be afraid. I don’t see the logic,” said Barnst Dossous.
NCH is also introducing an incentive plan to award those who are fully vaccinated and will be getting the vaccine.
Those with an approved medical or religious exemption will be required to get weekly COVID tests and wear N-95 masks for protection.
Full press release from NCH:
With guidance from our physician leaders and in order to take steps to further safeguard the health and wellbeing of our patients and coworkers, NCH will be requiring all current employees including leaders, physicians, providers, contract staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated no later than September 16, 2021, as a condition of employment.
The NCH Medical Executive Committee endorsed the Healthcare System’s new vaccination policy in an effort to keep employees healthy and safe. NCH leads the region in implementing this policy as the delta variant proves to be more contagious and with more severe symptoms.
NCH takes this position after careful consideration of what our physicians are seeing locally and after careful consultation with many physicians in our system and community who are in full agreement with this new policy. A statement published this week by the Council of Medical Specialty Societies has more than more than 50 signatories including the American College of Emergency Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Nurses Association, and the Society for Hospital Medicine amongst many others (CLICK HEREfor full statement). This statement is in support of a COVID vaccine requirement for all workers in health and long-term care.
“Our community looks to us to provide for their medical needs, routine and emergent and it is our duty to protect patients to the best of our ability while they are in our care,” said Shawn Patterson, MD, Medical Director of the NCH North Naples Hospital Emergency Department and Chairman of Emergency Medicine. “Vaccination provides a proven and effective pathway to protect our patients, our families, and each other. This represents leadership by example personified. It is without reservation that I endorse this policy.”
NCH will introduce an incentive plan that rewards employees who are currently fully vaccinated or become vaccinated. All employees, contract staff, and volunteers who are not vaccinated, or have an approved medical or religious exemption will be required to be COVID tested weekly and wear an N-95 mask for the protection of our patients and coworkers, and will not be eligible for any cash bonuses or incentives.
“Our staff has done a remarkable job in adhering to our safety protocols that have kept our coworkers and patients safe since day one of this pandemic,” said Paul Hiltz, President & CEO, NCH Healthcare System. “But, after listening to the voice of the physicians, and in the face of rapidly rising COVID hospitalizations, we felt this step was a necessary one to further safeguard the health of our patients and staff.”
Until vaccine requirements go into effect, NCH will continue to offer vaccine clinics to staff. If you or your loved one still needs to get the vaccine, please visit the COVID Information page at NCHmd.org to schedule your appointment today, or stop by the NCH Vaccine Clinic at Eagleview located at 2450 Goodlette-Frank Rd N, Naples, FL 34103.