Ascension requiring COVID-19 for all employees/associates by Nov. 12

Ascension Health Systems is now requiring all employees and associates to get the COVID-19 vaccine, joining a growing number of health systems across the country and state.

Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola is a full-service 566-bed hospital with 24/7 emergency care, with both adult and pediatric emergency rooms, offering a Level II Trauma Center, the region’s only Pediatric Trauma Referral Center, as well as the area’s only nationally certified Comprehensive Stroke Center.

President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph R. Impicciche released a memo internally on Tuesday, July 27th stating that “Ascension will require that all associates be vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they provide direct patient care, and whether they work in our sites of care or remotely.”

The memo explain, “This includes associates employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities.”

The timeline for completing the vaccine series and meeting this requirement will be November 12, which is aligned with Ascension’s annual influenza vaccination requirement and follows a similar implementation process.

“We are sensitive that some associates have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine based upon personal concerns. Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing information, engaging in conversations and answering any questions as we work to help overcome hesitancy. We also will develop and share the specific details for the implementation of this new requirement.”

The memo went on to offer an opportunity for exemptions: “In those instances when someone may not be able to get vaccinated due to a medical condition or strongly held religious belief, we will provide a process for requesting an exemption similar to the process we use for the annual influenza vaccine. Requests for exemptions will open August 16 and will be reviewed by members of Associate and Occupational Health, Human Resources, and Mission Integration. In addition, this requirement will be implemented in accordance with collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) reached between Ascension business entities and unions representing our associates.”

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