HealthcareBirths Could be Paused by Rural Hospitals Stressed by Coronavirus Vaccine Mandate, Employee Opposition

Some health care workers are objecting to the White House’s vaccination mandate.
September 28, 2021
Some Texas hospitals, particularly in rural areas, are experiencing a labor squeeze caused by a federal vaccination mandate issued at the White House’s direction.

One of those, Goodall-Witcher Hospital in Clifton, is concerned it may have to stop delivering babies due to the potential labor shortage born out of opposition to the vaccination requirement. Its CEO, Adam Willmann, told NPR that a number of its nurses have said they’ll retire or leave for other work if they are required to receive the vaccine to continue working at the hospital.

The vaccination rate among his employees has topped out at 70 percent, Willmann said.

Another hospital, the Brownfield Regional Medical Center, said earlier this month that it may face closure due to a possible lack of labor caused by the mandate. Between one-fifth and one-quarter of the hospital’s current employees would likely leave if the mandate is enforced, the hospital’s CEO said.

Hospitals that do not comply with the federal government mandate are threatened with a recission of their Medicaid funding. Rural hospitals, especially, rely heavily on that Medicaid funding to reimburse the large amounts of uncompensated care they provide.

The Texan Tumbler

Back in August, Governor Greg Abbott issued a vaccine mandate prohibition for public entities.

Brownfield RMC’s CEO, Jerry Jasper, told KCBD, “How’s Governor Abbott going to take this? He hasn’t complied with anything federal laws have done so far.”

“So, we’re going to have to, here in Texas at least, we’re going to have to wait and see how it plays out.”

The mandate’s attrition is not limited to rural hospitals. Houston Methodist lost approximately 150 nurses over the mandate and has been sued by some of those former employees.

But where Houston Methodist benefits from a larger talent pool, the rural hospitals lack most competitive advantages to attract employees and so preserving their current employee base is pivotal


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.