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CommonSpirit sent an email last week letting employees know under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a new rule requiring employees be fully vaccinated against COVID or have an approved medical or religious exemption and accommodation as allowed under federal law.

“This new CMS rule takes precedence over CommonSpirit’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement,” the email said. “It also supersedes any state orders, laws or regulations related to COVID-19 vaccine requirements for health care workers that do not align with its requirements. The Iowa state law waivers are one of the state laws that is superseded by the CMS rule.”

According to the email, the CMS rule means Iowa state law COVID-19 vaccine waivers are no longer applicable under the CMS rule.

“If you have an ‘Iowa waiver’ and wish to maintain an exemption and associated accommodation, you will now need to apply/reapply for a medical or religious exemption and accommodation or receive your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine no later than Dec. 6, 2021,” the email said.

December 6 is the last day employees have to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or apply for an exemption and accommodation.

January 4 is the last day employees have to receive their second dose or have an approved exemption and accommodation in place.

“After Jan. 4, 2022, those who have not complied with this requirement, unfortunately, will be unable to continue working at CommonSpirit,” the email said.

CommonSpirit said its religious exemption and accommodation criteria remain unaltered and align with the CMS rule.

“In order to streamline our process, self-attestation is now an option and will be made available through the CommonSpirit COVID-19 Vaccination Status Survey,” the email said. “Self-attestation allows you to certify that the COVID-19 vaccine requirement does not align with your sincerely held religious beliefs, practices or observances, provided that this position is in fact accurate for your circumstance.”

For employees who receive an exemption and accommodation, they will have to test and mask.

Author: Jacob Hall


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