Reston Hospital Center reverses course on vaccine mandate

Reston Hospital Center is now requiring its staff to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, reversing course on a previous policy that did not require staff to be vaccinated.

The hospital, which is part of the HCA Healthcare, did not institute a vaccine mandate due to a pending court case against vaccine mandates from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In a 5-4 ruling last week, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the vaccine mandate, which covers nearly all healthcare workers, to proceed.  The ruling covers two dozen states under federal injunctions that prohibited the CMMS from imposing mandates. It applies to roughly 76,000 health care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities.

In their opinion, justices implied that the court’s ruling overrode state laws that ban vaccination requirements at facilities taking part in the Medicaid and Medicare programs. As a result, failing to comply with the ruling could compromise some health care facility’s ability to serve patients under the Medicare and Medicaid program.

“To ensure our ability to continue caring for Medicare and Medicine patients, Reston Hospital will comply with the CMS mandate and require colleagues covered by the mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or seek a religious or medical exemption,” Suzanne Kelly, the healthcare system’s marketing and communications director, wrote in a statement.

The court also ruled that the OSHA mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees was not enforceable and exceeded the office’s statutory authority.

All staff is required to receive their first dose of the vaccine by Jan. 27 and be fully vaccinated by Feb. 28.

The hospital did not provide information on vaccinations rates for staff, although a spokesperson said a majority of its staff are vaccinated.

Angela Woolsey contributed to this report

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