The South Lincoln Hospital District Board of Trustees would like to extend warm thanks and appreciation to each employee who has exemplified compassion, empathy, professionalism and accountability to each other and our patients since May 2021 when we made these essential principles and responsibilities clear to the organization. Thank you so very much!
Related to the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Interim Final Rule regarding the requirements for all staff to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination, we find ourselves in a position of reluctance to enact any requirement that puts some of our employees in the position of having to choose between their personal perspectives and their continued employment. However, there are severe consequences for noncompliance, including the denial of payments, monetary penalties, and termination from the Medicare and Medicaid programs as a final measure. Noncompliance would result in the revocation of our license with CMS and our community's only hospital would be closed, along with other services such as Emergency Medical Services, Long-Term Care Center, and our clinics, among others. The Board of Trustees acknowledges the need of the organization to comply with this CMS ruling in order to maintain continued medical services in our area, despite our disdain at ultimately being forced to do so.
The Board of Trustees at SLHD met earlier this evening and unanimously approved the attached policy. We have directed the administration of SLHD to move forward with its full implementation. Our counsel to you is to carefully review the policy and its requirements and pay close attention to upcoming communication from administration related to your requirements within it.
It is certainly true that legal and political battles related to the CMS Interim Final Rule on the vaccine mandate rage on. If there is a legal ruling against the implementation of the CMS Interim Final Rule, the Board of Trustees may meet again to discuss a potential moratorium on implementing this policy while the ruling is active.
Though it is our sincere desire to retain each of you, we acknowledge that this policy may create a dynamic for some which they simply cannot abide. Though certainly saddened if this were to be the result, we nonetheless respect your right to make personal decisions which are best for you and your family and deeply hope only the best outcome for you. Again, we recognize this as truly unfortunate and are disappointed at being put in a position by CMS which has no other viable alternative.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude for your continued service to our community, patients, and neighbors.
Michelle Pollard, Board Chair
William Ball, Board Vice-Chair
Paula Bowling, Treasurer
Jeanne Wagner, Secretary
Karl Robinson, Trustee