Stormont expecting some staff to leave following vaccine mandate

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 9:24 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - More than 85% of Stormont Vail’s staff is vaccinated against COVID-19, but health leaders say it’s not enough.

CEO Dr. Robert Kenagy announced Thursday workers have until October 31st to get the shots.

“We’re going to push that number as close to 100% as we can.”

Kenagy expects some staff may leave over the new mandate with staffing already a struggle. He said they have more than 100 registered nurse positions open.

“I’m hopeful there will be few a number and that we will be able to attract others knowing that this is a safe place to work and my goodness, the meaning behind the work we’re doing today protecting our patients protecting our community is such that we believe we’ll continue to draw high caliber people to here, to Stormont Vail.”

Stormont Vail Health joins The University of Kansas Health System who announced Wednesday all employees at its Kansas City hospitals must be vaccinated -- it does enforce their St. Francis campus employees though. Manhattan’s Via Christi announced a vaccine requirement last month.

He said they hope to address employees’ concerns, but feel the mandate is best for the community.

“It is very frustrating to know that in this day and age we are talking about a well-established science that protects millions of people around the country, billions of people across the world, and we cannot get to a place of consensus as a community, as a culture to endorse vaccination.”

Kenagy says staffing is an hour-by-hour situation. There are moments in the day when they can care for all patients requesting to come in. Sometimes they have to go onto diversion, alternating ambulances from Stormont to St. Francis next door, or denying transfers. They’ve been getting requests from hospitals across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri -- Wednesday, they got one from Tennessee.

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