Ballad Health suspends employee COVID-19 vaccine requirement

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Ballad Health CEO and President Alan Levine announced the health provider has suspended the requirement of COVID-19 vaccines among its employees.

The announcement followed after a federal court made a ruling Tuesday that suspends any enforcement of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) vaccine mandate. CMS had previously announced that all health providers enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid must ensure their employees were vaccinated.

Levine noted in an email sent to employees that Ballad Health had established the vaccine mandate to comply with the CMS, which mandated all hospitals and a variety of health institutions require the vaccine among employees.

The latest ruling suspends enforcement of the CMS mandate pending the outcome of the litigation, allowing Ballad Health to suspend the requirement.

“As always, Ballad Health seeks to comply with properly promulgated rules and laws, and will act accordingly in such cases,” Levine wrote.

Previously, employees at the health system were informed they had until Dec. 5 to receive their first COVID-19 shot. Though employees are no longer required to do so amid the litigation, health leaders continue to encourage employees to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, citing an increase in hospitalizations and critical cases.

While Ballad Health will no longer require its employees to be vaccinated, the health system still encourages anyone who qualifies to receive their COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot.

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