Ochsner lets 280 employees go over COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Ochsner Health announced that of its 30,000 employees in Louisiana and Mississippi, 280 were let go over not complying with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate put in place.

Ochsner said in a statement that nearly 99% of its employees have come into compliance with the hospital system’s vaccination policy.

Ochsner issued the following statement from Warner Thomas, the president and CEO of Ochsner Health, about the policy:

“At Ochsner Health, we remain committed to prioritizing safety and minimizing risk for our co-workers, families and loved ones, and our actions during the COVID-19 pandemic reflect this promise. That’s why we are proud to announce that nearly 99 percent of Ochsner employees have come into compliance with our vaccination policy – an action that speaks to our team’s dedication and care to those we serve every day. We are truly grateful to our healthcare heroes and community members who continue to fight COVID-19.

“Today, nearly 30,000 employees have completed their COVID-19 vaccine series or have an approved medical or religious exemption. Team members with approved exemptions will undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear KN95 masks for added protection.

“As is the case with other health systems around the country, a small number of Ochsner employees who chose not to get vaccinated or request a medical or religious exemption – approximately 280 employees out of nearly 30,000 – will leave the organization. Of those leaving the organization, approximately 180 are PRN employees, working on an as-needed basis. Ochsner appreciates their dedication to their communities and service to the organization. Former employees in good standing will be eligible for rehire once they become compliant with this policy.

“While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule requiring COVID-19 vaccination for healthcare workers has recently been challenged, as a private employer, Ochsner Health retains the right to enact policies that protect patients and staff. Our COVID-19 vaccination policy is in line with similar policies enacted by leading health systems and employers across the country.

“Ochsner Health supports continued efforts to provide accurate information about the vaccine and COVID-19 for its employees and the community at-large. For COVID-19 resources, education tools and vaccine locations, visit https://www.ochsner.org/coronavirus.”

Ochsner said its current percentage of vaccinated employees does not include employees in Shreveport or Monroe due to pending litigation over the policy.

The Louisiana Supreme Court is set to hear the matter on Dec. 7.

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