CRMC’s administration has always respected the decisions of staff and personnel, which is why we encouraged, but never mandated the COVID vaccine, unlike many other healthcare facilities.
This new federal COVID vaccine mandate is not something the administration or board of trustees of Cookeville Regional Medical Center chose to put in place, which is why we never mandated the COVID vaccine for our staff in the past.
The federal government instituted the mandate utilizing both OSHA rulemaking and CMS funding. We are aware that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily suspended the mandate as it applies to entities that are subject to the OSHA rules. For healthcare entities that are participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, the mandate continues to be a requirement due to the tie to CMS funding.
Currently, any facility that accepts Medicare and Medicaid funds must follow the rules or risk losing funding. At CRMC, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements generate $185 million a year, which equates to over 60 percent of the total cash we receive.
Unfortunately, the federal administration under CMS has tied our hands and we are now forced to comply with their mandate issued last week which is directly tied to the receipt of Medicare/Medicaid funding.
Unless the courts file something specific to the CMS mandate, we have no choice but to comply with the federal mandate.
We understand how difficult this is for so many and had hoped it would not come to this point. We hope that our valued employees will continue to keep working with Cookeville Regional Medical Center and serving our community.
The deadline for all staff to receive their first series of COVID-19 vaccine is December 5, 2021.