Kootenai Health pushes back employee vaccine requirement date

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho– Kootenai Health employees will need to get the COVID-19 vaccine or face getting fired.

The health care provider said employees have until Dec. 13 to verify their vaccination status. That’s one week later than the hospital’s original deadline of Dec. 6.

Kootenai Health said it let its workers know about the requirement on Nov. 4 when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ ruled that health care workers needed to get the shot. Even though since then a federal court order in Louisiana put a pause on that mandate, Kootani Health said it would continue to move forward with it. The hospital said it issued its policy on Nov. 10.

“The CMS rule was designed to protect health and safety and Kootenai Health still believes this to be true. As a result, Kootenai Health will continue to move forward with a COVID-19 vaccination requirement like hospitals in Boise and Spokane did even before the CMS rule.  Kootenai Health will continue to monitor the status of all litigation involving the CMS rule and make any changes as warranted,” the hospital said in part in a statement.

Employees will need to either get an exemption or initiate vaccination by Dec. 13.

On Nov. 22, Idaho deactivated crisis standards of care for all parts of the state except North Idaho.

Crisis standards of care remain in effect in the Panhandle Health District, which includes Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai, Benewah and Shoshone counties.

For more information about crisis standards of care, visit the DHW website.

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