LMH Health announces COVID-19 vaccine requirement for employees

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Posted at 2:17 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 15:17:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lawrence Memorial Health became the latest health care provider in the Kansas City region to announce a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for employees.

LMH Health President and CEO Russ Johnson announced Friday that all employees, contractors and volunteers will be required to complete the COVID-19 vaccinations a condition of employment.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, vaccines represent the most powerful tool to help prevent serious infection, hospitalization and death,” Johnson said in a statement. “Vaccines are vital in protecting our employees, providers, patients and community.”

The deadline to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, is Nov. 21.

Exceptions will be made for medical and religious reasons after a review by Employee Health and Human Resources as required by law.

At least six other hospitals and health systems in the Kansas City region already have announced vaccine mandates for employees.

Vice President of Strategic Communications Rebecca Smith said “just under 90%” of LMH Health staff already have been vaccinated, including 99% of providers — a figure the system considers “exceptional” compared to other hospitals in the region.

“This incredible accomplishment demonstrates their commitment to keeping themselves and their patients safe,” Johnson said in a statement. “With this requirement, we are saying, ‘We hear you, we support you, and we acknowledge that in a time like this, our responsibility to others must come in front of individual preferences.’”

Smith said the high vaccination rates make it clear that the “vast majority” of LMH Health staff “want to ensure they are coming to work in a place that is safe,” adding that it was “a driving factor” in the decision to mandate vaccination.

New employees and associates will have 30 days to get vaccinated after being hired.

LMH Health also requires employees to receive a flu vaccination.

“COVID and the delta variant are difficult to control because people can carry and transmit the disease without showing symptoms,” LMH Health Chiefs of Staff Dr. James Mandigo said in a statement. “There are very limited treatment options, and due to the rising delta variant infection rate, very few critical care beds available in our region. Our recommendation to require the vaccine stems from the increases in infection rates of unvaccinated individuals. There is overwhelming evidence that vaccines are what will keep us all healthy in the face of COVID-19. As our region again faces tremendous challenges, we must do all we can to keep our community, patients and each other safe.”

LMH Health continues to provide vaccinations to the general public in Lawrence and the surrounding area.

Truman Medical Centers/University Health, Liberty Hospital, the University of Missouri Health Care System, Saint Luke’s Health System, The University of Kansas Health System and North Kansas City Hospital also are requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.