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Frank A. Douglass Insurance Agency

Another vaccine mandate put on hold by federal courts

The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, already having ruled OSHA’s vaccine mandate for large companies unconstitutional, will have another case to consider. A judge in Louisiana has halted the implementation of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) order that employees at most health care facilities be vaccinated fully by early January.

The case was brought by 14 states, although Michigan was not included in the court filing. Judge Terry Doughty’s injunction is effective nationwide. It comes at a time when hospitalizations are at pandemic highs across the state. Some of the largest facilities in Michigan are reporting 100 percent occupancy, which represents a strain on rural hospitals like those in the Western Upper Peninsula.

When Sparrow in Grand Rapids or St. Joseph in Ann Arbor reach capacity, they are unable to accept transfers from elsewhere. Losing access to specialists who work out of those networks could be a matter of life and death, not just regarding COVID, but in cases of traumatic injuries from car accidents, as well as heart attacks, strokes, and cancer treatment.

The halt comes at a time when the cost of firing unvaccinated workers is quickly coming into focus. New York State has canceled all elective surgeries to ensure that hospitals have enough resources to handle patients in need of urgent care. New York was one of the first states to mandate full vaccination in the industry.

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