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YRMC temporarily suspends vaccine mandate

Hospital cites a court ruling striking down U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirement - News 11's Cody Lee reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Many unvaccinated employees were on the verge of unpaid administrative leave or ultimately about to lose their job before a district court blocked a federal vaccine mandate.

Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) announced to its employees that the court ruling made Tuesday night will temporarily freeze the mandate issued by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

However, that doesn’t mean healthcare workers are off the hook as we wait for further court rulings.

“We had done a policy to go along with the cms mandate, we've suspended our policy and we're not requiring our workers to get the vaccine right now. We'll wait and see how that plays out. I'm sure it's gonna play out in the courts. And then as it gets back into effect, of course, we do have to follow that.”

YRMC's human resources chief, Diane Poirot, is making it clear the hospital does not intend to put anyone on administrative leave.

“Basically, the say was that CMS did not have the rulemaking power to mandate the vaccine. The judge said that that's really is making a law and Congress should do that,” Poirot added.

Before the CMS mandate, the hospital never required its employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine and for the 20% of staff not vaccinated, they respect the rights of their decision.

Some unvaccinated employees tell News 11 they aren’t happy with the mandate.

“Making a medical procedure mandatory for people not only just people but healthcare workers, people who are once seen as essential workers now are kind of put on the backburner in the sense,” said Rudy Gonzalez, who has been with YRMC for two years now. He works in the financial department not located on hospital grounds.

“It’s just unconstitutional. I have nothing to go against the vaccine itself. But the mandate is what I have an issue with,” Gonzalez continued.

While it’s not up to the hospital to impose this mandate, given 75% of revenue comes from CMS, Gonzalez is holding the hospital accountable.

“In actuality, I think that some accountability should be had on the hospital to we have, stating that we're sorry, and if this didn't come through [new court ruling], we would have pretty much put you out of work, we would have pretty much fearmonger you until you got the vaccine.”

YRMC says it values the contributions of each member and that they would never want to lose employees over a mandate.

Gonzalez has set up a petition online for others who feel that the vaccine mandate is unconstitutional.

He hopes the community will continue to be served if the mandate does end up going into effect.

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Cody Lee

Cody Lee joined 13 On Your Side and KYMA News 11 in March 2020, but he’s no stranger to Arizona. He grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoys everything Arizona has to offer.

You can contact Cody at cody.lee@kecytv.com.

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