What Does Mandate Mean For Kent And Sussex County’s Future Healthcare Coverage?

Bayhealth recently sent an email to their employees letting them know that they have until December 5th to get vaccinated or face termination. FSU was shown a copy of the email.

The email mentions that the mandate is a federally mandated COVID-19 vaccine requirement and that Bayhealth must comply with this federal requirement. It goes on to say that unvaccinated employees will be required to get a single shot of Johnson & Johnson or the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine by the 5th of December. If employees fail to get vaccinated their employment will be terminated on Dec. 6, 2021. Employees who get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine must have their second dose before January 4, 2022. Employees that don’t have their second dose by the 4th will be terminated on January 5, 2022, according to the email.

Employees that have medical and religious reasons for not wanting to be vaccinated can file for an exemption. Terminated employees will be offered reinstated to their current position or another position for which they are qualified, if they receive vaccination within 60 days after termination.

The Bayhealth employee that showed us the email said they were concerned that the mandate could lead to the termination of nearly 800 employees who they say are currently unvaccinated. FSU reached out to Bayhealth to try and confirm the 800 number.
We also asked them if the terminations would increase staffing ratios, extend wait times in emergency departments, and staffing shortages across all departments.

Bayhealth Spokesman Kevin Snyder issued the following statement in response to our email:

“Bayhealth has always met the healthcare needs of Kent and Sussex Counties and will continue to do so. Our more than 4,500 caregivers and physicians remain steadfast in maintaining a safe care environment at all times. Bayhealth is complying with the federal CMS mandate. The number of vaccinated Bayhealth team members is rising each day as more of our employees continue to take the vaccine, which is made available to them by our health system. We remain hopeful and optimistic all of our team members who are required by the federal mandate to take the vaccine, will do so before the deadline. We value all of our caregivers and we are making it clear to each and every one of them that we want them to stay at Bayhealth and to stay working within healthcare because our communities are counting on them and counting on all of us as the region’s healthcare leader.”

Snyder’s response did not directly answer our questions regarding the number of employees that may be affected or the staffing concerns relayed by the employee.  FSU will follow up with Bayhealth in January to get a better picture of how the mandate has affected its operation.