Addressing the nation on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden said on Sept. 9 that his administration “is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees … ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.” Altogether, those employers cover over 80 million workers.

After the president demanded that all hospital workers receive the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus or COVID-19 vaccine last week, administrators in rural hospitals expressed their dissatisfaction and concern. Some of this is due to regulatory agencies’ inconsistency and conflicting orders. For example, Governor Abbott recently prohibited public hospitals from requiring their employees to get the vaccine.

Brownfield Regional Medical Center CEO Jerry Jasper says nursing agencies are pulling staff away for a higher salary, so losing any workers hurts rural hospitals, KCBD reported.

“How’s Governor Abbott going to take this? He hasn’t complied with anything federal laws have done so far. So, we’re going have to, here in Texas at least, we’re going to have to wait and see how that plays out.”

Jerry Jasper added that “20 percent of my, probably 20 to 25 percent of my staff will have to go away if that’s the case.”

Losing those workers would force his hospital to close, and that losing Medicare and Medicaid funding isn’t an option either, as it accounts for 80—85% of their budget, said Jasper.

“It’s huge in our rural community as all the other rural communities. We all have high poverty levels and stuff like that, so a lot of Medicaid usage in our communities and stuff like that,” Jasper said.

“Well it would be devastating for the community, frankly. We have a large percentage of our revenue that comes from Medicare, Medicaid and those kinds of products,” Larry Gray, Seminole Hospital District CEO, told the station.

Gray claims that around 70% of his employees have been vaccinated. While he supports the vaccine, he thinks mandate is not the right approach.

“I think the mandate is just a terrible message because if the vaccinations are working, why do you have to mandate people to get the vaccines?” Gray asked. “What happens to individual choice and medical decisions between the patient and their doctor, which is all of the things that we’re trying to support.”

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