We applaud Lexington Medical Center’s approach to the now halted federally mandated requirement that all medical facility workers receive at least their first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6. In …
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We applaud Lexington Medical Center’s approach to the now halted federally mandated requirement that all medical facility workers receive at least their first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6.
In planning to implement the mandate, Lexington Medical Center was set to follow the law. Violating the federal mandate would have made the hospital ineligible for insurance payments from the many patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid, thus making it impossible for the hospital to fully serve communities in Lexington County and beyond.
Until it was put on hold last month by District Court injunctions, workers at facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid were required to have received at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6. It would have been irresponsible for Lexington Medical Center not to plan implementation for compliance with the federal law. Prisma, Lexington County’s other major medical system, also prepared for implementation of the vaccine mandate, which was aimed at health care facilities across the U.S.
Protests against the hospital system’s plan, including one led by Republican State Rep. Ryan McCabe on Nov. 20, were misguided — as explained in The Lexington Chronicle’s Dec. 2 editorial opinion piece entitled “State Rep Should Direct Ire at Feds, not Lexington Med.” If the representative wanted to lead protests aimed at the origin of the mandate, he should have been protesting outside the federal building in downtown Columbia, not along Highway 378 outside a hospital system preparing to follow the law.
Before the Dec. 5 deadline for vaccination Lexington Medical set for its employees to make sure it complied with the federal mandate, implementation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ requirement for mandating vaccinations in medical facilities in many states, including South Carolina, was halted by a preliminary injunction issued by Louisiana U.S. District Judge Terry Doughry. Lexington Medical immediately put its pending vaccination requirement following the ruling on hold.
Lexington Medical’s approach to its employees and COVID-19 has been appropriate throughout the pandemic.
The hospital system has issued statements since vaccines were developed and approved saying, ”Lexington Medical Center believes the vaccine is safe and effective, and is the best tool we have to combat the virus.” We agree and are pleased with the system’s 87.7 percent vaccination rate of its 7,800 employees as of late November. That compares favorably to an overall vaccination rate in South Carolina of just more than 50 percent.
We believe Rep. McCabe, who represents some areas of southern Lexington County, led a misguided protest against the wrong institution and is supporting ideas that contradict science and good sense.
Lexington County residents needing Lexington Medical’s care should rest easy knowing that they are in the responsible hands of an institution that follows science and the law as it cares for its patients and employees.
This article is the opinion of the Chronicle editorial board. To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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