Ascension Health System has announced plans to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a statement released Tuesday, July 27, the health system stated, “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and new variants of the virus emerge, Ascension continues to focus on ensuring our associates are protected – for the safety of patients and visitors, our associates, our families and loved ones, and the community. Like many health systems across the country, including in many of our markets, we are moving to require our associates to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Ascension conducted a thorough moral and ethical analysis as part of the decision-making process. This decision is rooted in our Mission commitment to leading with quality and safety. As a healthcare provider and as a Catholic ministry, ensuring we have a culture of safety for our associates, patients and communities is foundational to our work.”
Ascension is requiring that all associates be vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they provide direct patient care, and whether they work in their sites of care or remotely. The mandate includes associates employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities.
Ascension’s timeline for meeting the requirement is Nov. 12, 2021. The timing is aligned with Ascension’s annual influenza vaccination requirement and will follow a similar implementation process. If someone is not be able to be vaccinated due to a medical condition or strongly held religious belief, Ascension will provide a process for requesting an exemption similar to a process used for the annual influenza vaccine. The requirement will also be implemented in accordance with collective bargaining agreements reached between Ascension business entities and unions representing employees.
Spectrum Health, which has 14 hospitals in western Michigan, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and Livonia-based Trinity Health have also announced vaccine mandates.