Dear residents, staff, families and supporters,
For months Bartels has addressed making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for staff once we had received the actual regulatory notice. Bartels received such notice November 5, 2021. On this date, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the final rule, directing us to be in compliance with the federal mandate by December 5, 2021. We issued our new policy on November 5 to ensure we were in compliance by the December 5 deadline.
Many of the employees have already either received the vaccine or filed for a medical or religious exemption. To these employees, thank you. You are doing your part to ensure our compliance. If an employee has not done either of the above, you are asked to contact our human resources department immediately to review the policy, options and sign the required paperwork.
Yesterday, we learned of a preliminary injunction filed against this final ruling. We reached out to our attorney to get a legal opinion on how we should move forward with this injunction. Our attorney advises us that in their professional opinion the mandate could still eventually be required for our field. That is the reason we are keeping our process the same and will continue to strongly encourage the vaccine and ask our current and future employees to comply or submit an exemption form. However, we have added an addendum to our policy (please see attached).
At this time, employee adherence to our policy is voluntary and will not be a condition of your employment at Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community.
Should the courts make changes we may adjust our position accordingly.
While this has been a highly emotionally charged political issue, Bartels is committed to following the law, providing the best care for our residents, and keeping our team members our top priority.
Thank you for your patience, support, and understanding as we navigate our way during this very difficult time.
Paula Geise, RN, MSN, CEO
Addendum to Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Policy
Effective Date: November 30, 2021
On November 29, a U.S. District Judge blocked the vaccine mandate for health care workers in ten states, including Iowa. As a result of the injunction on this mandate, Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community will add the word “Voluntary” to its policy. The vaccination requirement and process for filing religious or medical exemptions remains in place; however, staff* are not obligated to have approved exemptions in place by dates originally established to remain employed by Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community.
The Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community policy will remain in place and should the preliminary injunction be appealed, Bartels will comply with CMS and require the vaccine thereby removing the voluntary language.
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