Home Health care provider HHSC backs call for vaccine mandates for healthcare workers

HHSC backs call for vaccine mandates for healthcare workers

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Hawaii Health Systems Corp. said Monday she supported the Healthcare Association of Hawaii’s new call to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for healthcare workers statewide.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our hospitals have worked closely with the Healthcare Association of Hawaii and other acute care hospitals and long-term care facilities across the state to provide a consistent response to pandemic, ”HHSC said in a statement provided by Hilo. The spokesperson for the medical center, Elena Cabatu. “There is a clear consensus that the best way to treat and manage this pandemic is vaccination. “

According to the statement, the HHSC supports the HAH consensus and assesses the measures necessary to ensure that all legal and contractual obligations are met before implementing a mandate.

HHSC operates six facilities on the Big Island: Hilo Medical Center, Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home, Hale Ho’ola Hamakua and Ka’u Hospital in its area of ​​eastern Hawaii, and Kona and the Kohala Hospital in its area of ​​western Hawaii.

Cabatu said 85% of the 1,500 employees in the eastern Hawaii area have already been vaccinated.

The HAH on Monday announced its support for mandatory vaccinations – once full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is granted and as long as exemptions are granted.

“Our board of directors voted overwhelmingly in favor of this decision,” HAH President and CEO Hilton Raethel said in a statement. “It’s the right thing to do to protect patients, residents and employees, as well as the entire community. “

The association is the not-for-profit trade association for Hawaii hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, home care agencies, and hospices. These organizations collectively employ over 30,000 people in Hawaii.

The policy does not commit individual HAH members to follow it, but rather provides support to healthcare employers considering their own immunization policies, said Wes Lo, HAH board member. and general manager of Ohana Pacific Health, which operates skilled nursing facilities across Hawaii.

Executives from Adventist Health Castle, Hawaii Pacific Health, Kaiser Permanente and Queen’s Health Systems announced their own vaccine policies on Monday.

Queen’s Health Systems, which operates Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea, has set an Oct. 1 deadline for employee vaccination.

“Queen’s was founded in 1859 amid the ravages of infectious disease in Hawaii. Now, in 2021, we are asking the question again, “What can we do to best protect our patients, caregivers and communities from preventable infectious disease?” ”Said Dr. Todd Allen, Senior Vice President and Head of Quality. in the HAH version. “Queen’s is deeply grateful that after many years of applying the scientific method, we have such a powerful prevention tool as COVID vaccines.

“In keeping with our mission, Queen’s is proud to join with other healthcare systems in requiring vaccines for our healthcare team with limited exceptions consistent with federal and state policies. This requirement will begin on October 1 and our teams are working diligently to finalize the many components needed to make this operational.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.