Hospitals are now caught between conflicting federal and state vaccination policies
I miss Florida hospitals now face a lingering dilemma between conflicting federal and state policies over staff vaccine mandates.
To comply with one, they will have to violate the other and both carry severe financial penalties.
Hospitals have until December 6 to vaccinate all of their employees under the US Department of Health and Human Services law.
RELATED: Governor DeSantis signs legislation limiting Florida’s COVID vaccine mandates
Florida Hospital Association President Mary Mayhew told us that hospitals plan to comply because failing to do so will cost them billions of dollars in Medicaid funding.
“Because of our commitment to ensuring that elderly Florida residents have access to those who depend on Medicaid,” Mayhew said.
But compliance with federal policy means hospitals will be at odds with a new state law banning vaccine mandates.
Even some Republicans are concerned.
“We can’t have both at the same time and put these hospitals in this situation. It’s restless,” said Spencer Roach, the state representative.
Democratic lawmakers said the problem could have been avoided by exempting health care workers from the ban.
“What we could have done was accept the amendments that would have fixed this problem,” said state representative Fentress Driskill.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the HHS rule, but, contrary to OSHA’s vaccine requirements, no court has yet prevented the vaccine from being authorized for health care workers.
Florida has now joined forces with at least 22 other states that have already sued to block the HHS Act.
The legislature has allocated $5 million for the attorney general in blocking vaccine authorization to pursue enforcement of state policy and legal action against mandates issued by the federal government.
House Speaker Chris Sprouls said this battle was always destined to be resolved in the courts.
“And that’s why we’ve given the money to the attorney general to make sure we can do that effectively and adequately,” Sprouls said.
Unless the courts state otherwise, hospitals have said they will comply with the HHS rule on new state law, subjecting them to a fine of $10,000 or $50,000 for each violation.
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