Home health facilities locally that serve Medicare and Medicaid populations will have to require COVID-19 vaccinations by Jan. 4, according to Centers for Medicare Services guidelines.
Mosaic Life Care Home Health has about 50 employees who work directly in the home of a patient, and director Chris Weigel said while staffing and hiring are tight, there is no concern about losing current employees as the majority already are vaccinated. She said a few employees are seeking religious exemptions.
“I really haven’t had any challenges ... with the mandate. Most of all of my caregivers are vaccinated or are in the process of getting vaccinated, and they’ve been more than willing to do that,” Weigel said.
Weigel said there really isn’t another option other than requiring the vaccine for employees if health providers want to receive funding from Medicaid or Medicare, which a high percentage of patients are covered by. She said
employees already have had to adapt to many things throughout the pandemic to keep patients safe.
“It’s been very challenging with people not wanting you in their home, but they know they need it medically,” Weigel said. “We kind of try to make them feel at ease because we’re garbed up with appropriate PPE just like they were at the hospital.”
Weigel said that she believes the vaccine mandate will become somewhat of a nonissue because nurses and other health care workers will have limited options for other employers who aren’t following guidance from CMS.
News-Press NOW contacted several other home health care providers in St. Joseph and all either did not return calls or declined to comment about how the CMS mandate will impact their business.