In response to a decrease in COVID cases and low community transmission rates, the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) announced two changes to its COVID policies.
Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers
The NYS Department of Health (DOH) recently announced its intent to repeal the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. While it awaits final approval of the repeal from the State’s Public Health and Health Planning Council, DOH is not enforcing adherence to the existing mandate. And, at the federal level, Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are starting the process to end the vaccination requirements for CMS-certified healthcare facilities.
Given these actions, MVHS has changed its policy and will no longer require a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. This change went into effect on Friday, June 2, 2023.
“We are hopeful that those who left our organization because of the vaccine mandate may consider coming back to MVHS,” said Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, president/CEO of MVHS. “And we’re hopeful this change will also help in our recruitment efforts for much-needed employees.”
Pre-procedure COVID Testing to End Monday, June 19, 2023
MVHS, like hospitals across the State, will no longer be doing pre- procedure/surgery COVID testing as a result of the steep decline in COVID in the community and among the MVHS patient population. The effective date for this change is Monday, June 19, 2023, with the last pre-procedure COVID tests being conducted on Wednesday, June 14, 2023. COVID testing for inpatients will also be stopped as of Wednesday, June 14, 2023.
Another significant change is that a companion will now be allowed to accompany a patient into the Ambulatory Surgery Unit. The discrete entrances for surgical patients will continue at each campus and safety associates will continue to greet and escort patients to the surgical area.
“As always, our first priority is keeping our patients as the focus of all we do,” said Stromstad. “I am really delighted that our patients can now have a loved one with them when they are going for a procedure or surgery. It feels good to be able to bring back practices that further comfort our patients during stressful times.”