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COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

The "Path Out of the Pandemic" COVID-19 plan issued by The White House in November required all healthcare providers to initiate mandatory vaccination plans for their employees per regulations set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

That federal mandate was temporarily halted when the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a nationwide preliminary injunction preventing the CMS from enforcing its healthcare worker vaccine mandate while a legal challenge worked its way through the federal court system.

Many employers around the United States, including healthcare organizations, opted to continue enforcement of their own vaccine mandates, regardless of this temporary halt to the federal requirement. Baptist Health was not among those; however, on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the district court resulting in CMS now being able to fully enforce the federal vaccine requirement.

Baptist Health, along with all healthcare providers across the country, must comply with the CMS mandate in order to continue operating.

For employees who have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, this federal mandate requires that healthcare workers must receive at least one dose or request a religious or medical exemption by Monday, February 14, 2022, and all eligible healthcare employees should be fully vaccinated by Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

In compliance with these CMS requirements; by Monday, February 14, 2022, all healthcare workers must:

  • receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • or request a religious or medical exemption

Those who do not complete one of the two options listed above will be suspended without pay. As a reminder, this mandate applies to both Baptist Health-paid and non-Baptist Health-paid individuals.

  • If you received the vaccine from a non-Baptist Health entity (i.e. CVS, Walgreens, primary care physician, etc.), please provide documentation/proof of vaccination to immunizations@baptistfirst.org by Monday, February 14, 2022.
  • If you have already submitted a medical or religious exemption form, you do not have to re-submit another form. All previously submitted requests are currently under review. 
  • If you would like to schedule your vaccine appointment, these are easily available at no charge through Employee Health and our Community Vaccine Clinic. To schedule an appointment through Employee Health, please click here or email: immunizations@baptistfirst.org. If you experience technical issues self-scheduling, please call (334) 294-3379. To schedule an appointment through the Community Vaccine Clinic, visit: www.baptistfirst.org, call (334) 747-CVAC (2822) or email: vaccineadvocates@baptistfirst.org.
  • If you would like to request a religious or medical exemption, please read these important next steps very carefully:

Step 1 for Exemption Requests

In order to request a religious or medical exemption from the organization's COVID-19 vaccine policy, individuals should first notify the organization of their request by completing, signing and returning the Exemption Request Form which is authorized for use under Alabama law.

  • Religious Exemption requests should be sent to ReligiousExemptionRequestCovidVaccine@baptistfirst.org
  • *Medical Exemption requestsshould be sent to MedicalExemptionRequestCovidVaccine@baptistfirst.org 

    *Please note that if requesting a medical exemption, the Exemption Request Form requires a signature from the individual's health care provider. Also, as discussed in Step 2 below, a separate medical questionnaire is also required for medical exemption requests.You may wish to have your health care provider complete both forms at the same time.

Step 2 – Providing Necessary Information To Baptist Health

Upon receipt of the Exemption Request Form, the organization will engage with the individual in an interactive process to assess the exemption request. The first step in that interactive process is working with the individual to gather basic information that is needed to evaluate the request and is, in the case of a medical exemption request, required by CMS.

If requesting a Religious Exemption - complete the Request for Religious Exemption – COVID-19 Vaccine Form to provide basic information regarding the religious expression, observance, or requirement that the individual believes conflicts with receiving the vaccine and return it to Baptist Health at ReligiousExemptionRequestCovidVaccine@baptistfirst.org.

If requesting a Medical Exemption - complete the Medical Certification Form – COVID 19 Vaccine Form to provide basic information regarding the medical condition with recognized clinical contraindications that renders them unable to receive one or more of the COVID-19 vaccines and return it to Baptist Health at MedicalExemptionRequestCovidVaccine@baptistfirst.org.

Step 3 – Baptist Health Assesses The Exemption Request

After the required exemption forms are returned to Baptist Health, the organization will assess the request and whether it should be granted or denied. In the process of assessing the request, the organization may have questions about the information submitted, or may believe that additional information is needed in order to properly assess the request. If so, the organization will contact the individual to seek the necessary clarification and/or request the additional information.

Step 4 – Decision

After carefully reviewing all information submitted in support of a requested exemption, the organization will make a decision regarding whether the requested exemption is approved or denied. The decision will be communicated to the individual making the request in writing along with further instructions about next steps for the individual depending on whether the request is approved or denied.

Please see this list of Frequently Asked Questions modeled after CMS guidelines and Baptist Health's official policy regarding this federal mandate, and check email, Engage and/or with your manager or team leader to stay up to date on the latest information regarding this process. Thank you for your continued dedication to our organization and community.