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YRMC to require COVID-19 vaccine for all employees

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Yuma Regional Medical Center (YRMC) will start imposing the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

It was put on hold in December, but now following a recent Supreme Court ruling it will go back into effect.

YRMC informed its staff late last week.

Since the hospital is over 75 percent funded by Medicare and Medicaid, there was no other choice but to require all staff to be fully vaccinated by march 15th.

Currently, around 400 YRMC employees have either not gotten the vaccine or just haven’t shown proof.

Diane Poirot is the chief human resources officer for YRMC.

“It includes not just workforce members, it includes, you know, community providers, doctors, includes our employees and includes some of our contracted services. So we are working with the folks and working with our supervisors,” she said.

This decision comes as the country’s highest court upheld a part of the mandate affecting the majority of healthcare workers.

The mandate will be for all YRMC locations.

“We hope our people will stay with us. We are worried about the potential impact to be able to serve our community and our patients and the potential impact of the staff that would be remaining that would take on that additional workload,” Poirot explained.

If employees do not comply they will have to go on unpaid administrative leave until they get the vaccine.

Some could just quit altogether.

But there are some exemptions.

“We have some people that have turned in their exemption requests and those are being evaluated depending on their medical or religious we have two different committees that are evaluating those," she added.

The new mandate goes into effect next month as hospital staff is already run thin due to an increase in hospitalizations.

Even hospital wait times have increased significantly.

“It doesn't bode well that we will be losing some staff. And we do have staff out right now due to COVID. And it is impacting operations. It's impacting how, how much work that the staff is doing and how many patients we have,” Poirot continued.

There are some nurses and staff opposed to this mandate and their job may be on the line - come March.

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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.

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