Saturday, October 23, 2021

UCHealth furloughs more than 100 employees as most workforce complies with vaccine mandate

Officials said Monday that UCHealth fired more than 100 employees, including 54 in Metro Denver, who refused to comply with the Colorado health system’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

A state mandate announced in August allows Colorado health care workers to be fully vaccinated or obtain an approved medical or religious exemption by October 31. But UCHealth implemented its mandate with a deadline of October 1.

Of UCHealth’s 26,500 employees, 119 — or less than 0.5% of the system’s workforce — did not receive a COVID-19 vaccine or one of the exemptions, spokesman Dan Weaver said in an email.

Weaver said in a statement, “Anyone who left UCHealth employment is welcome – and encouraged – to re-apply for their positions after they have decided to be vaccinated against COVID-19. should do and return.”

The vaccine mandate has actually improved staffing levels, Weaver said in the statement, as fewer workers are testing positive for the virus.

Denver’s vaccine mandate went into effect on October 1, and more than 98% of the city’s workforce either vaccinated or approved a waiver.

Two surveys in June found that nearly half of illiterate workers said they would quit their jobs if the shot became mandatory, but most employers who have publicized data about their mandates reported that the number of quitters was actually about 1 % to 2%.

Several factors may be at play: In June, mandates were much less common, making it more likely that a non-vaccinated person could get a similar job in a facility that would not require the shot. A federal mandate unveiled in September requires employees in all health care facilities that receive money from Medicare or Medicaid — nearly every facility in the country — to be vaccinated, which means that most non-vaccinated employees The only option for PTSD is to give up health care altogether.

A handful of hospitals, mostly in New York state, have reported losing up to 5% of staff, and some have cut non-emergency services, however. Smaller and more rural hospitals tend to struggle more with staff after shots became mandatory, due to resistance to the vaccine in their communities and the lack of a deep pool of potential workers.

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People who have been fired for refusing to vaccinate are unlikely to qualify for unemployment benefits, although a statement from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said the unemployment office will consider individual circumstances, Such as why the employer considered vaccination necessary and why the employee refused .

“Generally, (unemployment insurance) benefits are for Coloradans who lose work through no fault of their own,” the statement said. “If being vaccinated against COVID-19 is relevant to job performance, the employee will likely not be eligible for UI benefits.”

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