DeSantis blames Biden for hospital vaccine mandates while in Naples

The NCH Healthcare System enforced its vaccine mandate.

Now, it’s marking its employees’ badges who have an exemption.

Some of those employees are on leave for refusing to wear the special badge but others have quit.

As a result, the hospital system lost about 100 staff members.

The hospital system says its policy complies with federal law.

But in Florida, the hospital chain is on a list of organizations that have received complaints or is possibly under investigation by the DOH for being in violation of the state’s vaccine passport law. The DOH has not confirmed if it is investigating the hospital system.

NCH said in a statement: “In section 381.00316, Florida Statutes, section 18, page 22-23, it clearly states in subsection (1) that ‘a business entity…may not require patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business operations in this state.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was in Collier County on Friday, said he thinks no one should lose their jobs over the vaccine jab.

But he never went as far as to say he would punish NCH or any other hospital system for their vaccine mandate.

Instead, DeSantis took the opportunity to attack President Joe Biden whose vaccination rules could come down as early as next week.

“I think a lot of the hospitals are responding to that federal kind of Sword of Damocles that the Biden administration has placed over their heads,” DeSantis said.

NCH announced its vaccine requirement before the president announced his mandate.

Still many hospitals are likely to follow suit out of fear of losing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for failing to comply.

“Just think of Biden,” DeSantis said. “He says, don’t make the vaccines, divisive. Don’t make the vaccines division. You are trying to take people’s jobs away over this issue. You are trying to plunge people into destitution, you are taking away their livelihoods nobody else is doing that. You are the one that’s being divisive about this.”

On Monday, the Department of Health announced they are investigating 120 businesses, including NCH, that potentially violated DeSantis’ ban on vaccine passports.

The governor’s office clarified to WINK News that not every business is under formal investigation, but instead, someone may have filed a complaint against them.


WINK News reached out to NCH after learning it was on the DOH’s list, here was their response:

While NCH continues to wait for any official communication from the state regarding the issue of vaccine passports, we wanted to call the language of the state’s own law to the attention of media.

In section 381.00316, Florida Statutes, section 18, page 22-23, it clearly states in subsection (1) that ‘a business entity…may not require patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business operations in this state.’

And while NCH’s vaccine requirement is only for employees, contractors, and volunteers of NCH and we have NEVER required our patients or visitors to show evidence of vaccination, subsection (5) of that same statute clearly says ‘this section does not apply to a healthcare provider…’ which, in addition to not having received any official notification from the state on this issue, is another reason we find this matter puzzling.

— Matthew Heinle, NCH General Counsel.

 

Reporter:Sydney Persing
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