LUBBOCK, Texas — University Medical Center announced on Friday that they would be moving forward with a vaccine mandate provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Mark Funderburk, CEO of UMC, said the decision was one of the toughest decisions he’s had to make in the 30 years he’s been with UMC.
“It’s not coming from any of us,” said Funderburk, “It’s coming from CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid from Washington. And they hold the purse strings, so to speak because we all depend on Medicare and Medicaid dollars and the hospital business.”
The mandate from CMS will require all employees, volunteers and students who come in contact with the hospital to get their first vaccination by December 6th and their second vaccine by January 4th.
Funderburk said UMC has an excess of 1000 people who are not fully vaccinated, some with their first dose but not their second and some with none.
Sandra Dickerson, M.D., the President of the Lubbock County Medical Society, said although the decision to get vaccinated will be tough for some, it’s a necessary thing to do.
“Yes, it’s going to upset people. I can understand that. They may have their own objections to it for a variety of reasons,” said Dickerson. “We have a responsibility for taking care of the most vulnerable the young, the old, the immune-compromised, the cancer patient that walks past you in the hallway when you’re walking through the hospital.”
Funderburk said the hospital is trying to give employees as much information on possible exemptions and resources to get their vaccines but said he understands some people will leave.
“If somebody does choose to leave the hospital, we want to make every opportunity available for them to be eligible for rehire and to leave in good standing and to leave at a certain date that allows them to make the best choice for them,” said Funderburk. “Perhaps they can come back when this has been some otherwise resolved.”
EverythingLubbock.com reached out to Covenant to ask if they are doing something similar, and they tell us they expect to have an announcement on their vaccination policy for employees early next week.