STATEWIDE — The vaccine mandate deadline for healthcare workers is around the corner, but there is backlash from lawmakers and looming issues for health care facilities across the state.
On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers asked that the legislature convene and amend the governor’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.
“We recently attended a meeting with members of the leadership team at Central Maine Healthcare and members of the Androscoggin delegation, at which it was presented to us that unless there is a testing exemption to Governor Mills’ vaccine mandate, their healthcare system will be forced to ration care due to lack of staffing,” they said in a statement.
During Wednesday’s Northern Light Health briefing, Senior Vice President Paul Bolin reported that so far, 117 people have left because of vaccine mandates.
He said more than 95 percent of their staff is vaccinated.
“Our 4.5 percent is a little over 500 people unvaccinated,” he said.
Bolin said they have a contingency plan for a lack of staffing but hope they won’t need to use it.
He said testing is not as effective as a vaccinated staff.
“To provide testing in lieu of vaccine for those who are able to receive the vaccine is just not providing the level of safety that we agree is appropriate”
While legislative Republicans are reporting Central Maine Medical Center 3will not have enough staff to tend to their patients, Dr. James Jarvis said they have yet to have this problem.
“As far as any individual hospital right now not being to meet the needs of their community, that has just not happened,” he said.
However, Central Maine Healthcare says they are in favor of a testing system.
“Since the announcement of the state mandate, 90 team members have already resigned and more than 200 others have no COVID vaccination on record with our system,” said Ann Kim Director of corporate communications for Central Maine Healthcare.