Dec. 1—Logan Health has suspended its plan to require employees receive the Covid-19 vaccine following a court's ruling that temporarily pauses a federal vaccine order for health-care workers.
Last week the hospital announced that it would comply with a CMS rule that requires Medicare and Medicaid certified providers to ensure their staff is fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, or risk losing reimbursement. The requirement would affect more than 4,000 clinical and nonclinical employees across all Logan Health properties.
According to Logan Health's plan, any employee that had not received at least one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 10 would not be allowed to work on-site.
In a note sent to staff Wednesday, Logan Health CEO Craig Lambrecht said the company was readjusting that plan after a federal judge issued a ruling that temporarily blocks the Biden administration's mandate.
Lambrecht explained that unvaccinated employees would no longer be impacted and that the process for requesting exemption would be suspended for now.
"As you may have heard the CMS vaccine mandate was temporarily halted as a result of legal challenges," Lambrecht wrote. "What this essentially means is that this may be a temporary pause only to be reinstated and we, like others are uncertain of the timeframe. Therefore, we will continue to gather information so that we are prepared should reinstatement happen."
Hospitals across the state had decided to follow the federal rule, which contradicts Montana's House Bill 702 banning vaccine requirements in the state.
In a press release Wednesday, Montana Hospital Association CEO Rich Rasmussen said that with the federal rule now on hold, Montana hospitals "will focus on continued compliance with Montana state law.
"Montana health care providers have been in the very difficult position of complying with conflicting state and federal laws," he added. "We value every one of our team members and it is unfortunate that they have been drawn into this conflict."
A suit challenging the federal mandate was led on behalf of multiple states by Louisiana, and U.S. Judge Terry Doughty on Tuesday granted the states' request for a preliminary injunction.
"The public interest is served by maintaining the constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals who do not want to take the COVID-19 vaccine," Doughty wrote in his opinion.
States joining Louisiana in its suit, filed Nov. 15, included Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.
States Newsroom contributed to this report.