Intermountain Healthcare, which cares for hundreds of thousands of patients throughout the Intermountain West – including those with Medicare and Medicaid – will require all of its caregivers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to comply with federal vaccination requirements announced by President Biden in September.
The Biden Administration issued the Path Out of the Pandemic COVID-19 Action Plan on September 9, 2021, requiring federal agencies to implement COVID-19 vaccination requirements in three areas, which all affect Intermountain: (1) companies that contract with the federal government; (2) employers with more than 100 employees; and (3) healthcare facilities that participate in Medicaid or Medicare.
In response to the federal action, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force published guidelines that employees of federal contractors and subcontractors, which includes health providers, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has also announced forthcoming regulations requiring the vaccine.
Intermountain caregivers and others working in Intermountain facilities must receive at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine by January 5, 2022. The due date for the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna is February 9, 2022.
An estimated 80% of Intermountain caregivers are already fully vaccinated against COVID.
“In order to remain fully compliant with federal requirements to care for the hundreds of thousands of patients in the communities that we serve, as well as for the safety and well-being of all patients and our caregivers, we’ve carefully made the decision to add this requirement,” said Mark Briesacher, MD, chief physician executive and senior vice president of Intermountain.
“Following this government rule will enable us to continue to care for patients and members in our communities and help keep our caregivers as safe as possible, which is critical to our mission,” he added.
Intermountain currently requires caregivers to be vaccinated for other communicable diseases, including influenza, hepatitis, measles and mumps, and pertussis.
As with other required vaccines, Intermountain caregivers can apply for an exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for a medical condition or religious belief.
“We understand this may be a significant decision for some of those not yet vaccinated,” Dr. Briesacher said. “Every employee is a valued member of the Intermountain Healthcare team, and we will walk with them through each step of this requirement.”
Located in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada, Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, the Intermountain Medical Group with some 2,700 employed physicians and advanced care practitioners, a health plans division called SelectHealth, Homecare, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.