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Injunctions filed in Arkansas, Missouri; hospitals place vaccine mandates on hold

An injunction in 10 states, including Arkansas and Missouri, has placed a pause on vaccine mandates for employees of hospitals funded by Medicare and Medicaid.
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 5:22 PM CST
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Several hospitals placed a hold on vaccine mandates after injunctions were filed against a federal ruling.

The rule, which remains in effect in 40 states, requires workers in healthcare facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funding to be fully vaccinated by January 4. The other 10 states, including Missouri and Arkansas, are not required to have mandates in place until a decision on the appeal is made. Attorney Generals and District Judges such as U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp say the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services exceeded its authority with the emergency order.

”Any medical facility that accepted government funds, which is virtually every medical employer, had to have the mandate or risk losing the funds,” said Angela Artherton, an attorney in north Arkansas.

The ruling required first doses be taken by December 6, thus before Monday. Several entities had vaccine mandates in place.

”There’s been a lot of talk about medical workers that will quit their jobs if that’s the choice: quitting or getting the vaccine,” said Artherton.

Leading up to Monday, where injunctions have been filed across 10 states, including Missouri and Arkansas. Governor Asa Hutchinson expressed the importance of vaccination amid the new variant.

”It is a great concern, but I think the message as a governor is steady as you go,” he said in his weekly address on Sunday. “We obviously have to have more information but let’s take this window to get better prepared by increasing our vaccination rates.“

While the injunction does place a hold on the federal mandate, it doesn’t stop hospitals from implementing their own.

”What it means for them right now, it depends on their employer’s policy and position,” Artherton explained. “Ask your employer or look at it, if you’re a medical employer, you’re not required to have a vaccine mandate, as of Monday.”

Several hospitals placed a temporary hold on vaccine mandates or getting rid of them together until a court decision says otherwise.

“It’s probably going to be appealed, it’ll go to the 8th Circuit,” said Artherton. “The 8th Circuit is pretty conservative so it will probably be upheld if I have to guess.”

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