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Renown Health Expands Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement

November 09, 2021

Renown Regional Medical Center

Protecting employees and their families; providing the safest, highest-level of care to patients and supporting public health

Renown Health, one of the region’s largest private employers with a work force of almost 7,000, and a not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving over 1 million people across Nevada, today notified its employees that it will support the national Emergency Regulation and will require COVID-19 vaccination for all Renown Health employees.

Communicating to employees today, Tony Slonim, MD, DrPH, President & CEO, wrote, “For the last nineteen months, we have done everything humanly possible to care for patients, our community and each other- and to keep people safe from COVID-19. Despite these efforts, too many people have fallen ill, suffered long-term effects or lost those they loved to this deadly disease.” He added, “I believe that as the leading anchor institution for our community, we are obligated to set a clear example of our trust in data and science, and to hold ourselves to the highest ethical and professional standards to keep our community safe. It is clear that the vaccine is safe and effective in reducing illness and saving lives and we encourage everyone who is medically able to do so, and within their religious guidelines, to get vaccinated.”

Dr. Slonim thanked his staff for “heeding the call for vaccination and protecting those in our care who are ill and physically vulnerable, and ensuring a safe, COVID-19-free environment for them and for each other.” As of today, 80% percent of all 6,750 Renown Health employees have already been vaccinated or granted an approved exemption or deferral.

On November 4th, The Biden-Harris Administration announced required COVID-19 vaccination of eligible staff at health care facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association and multiple national societies representing medical professionals and at least 174 health care organizations nationally have recommended that vaccination be required for all healthcare personnel as a condition of employment. COVID-19 vaccination prevents serious illness, hospitalization and death.

Documented declines in cases since mass vaccination began prove the COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective, and are crucial to decreasing the spread of the virus.

Renown’s requirement applies to all employees, new hires and students.

Chief Medical Officers strongly endorse the mandate. “Our role is to provide the safest, highest-level of care to people who come to us for care, and we must do our part to support public health, which has been greatly enhanced in this state because of the utilization and uptake of the vaccine,” said Rahul Mediwala, MD, CPE, Chief Medical Officer, Health Services. Dr. Mediwala was instrumental in Renown’s volunteer effort to administer 80,000 vaccinations to employees and community members, and now to children ages 5-11 at its Hometown Health location earlier this year.

We know that there’s some hesitancy that exists, but the data are clear that these vaccinations have been very effective in preventing hospitalizations, severe complications and deaths from COVID-19,” says Susan Lee, DO, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Acute Services. “We encourage all colleagues, patients, and community members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.”  

The Biden-Harris Administration requirements will apply to approximately 76,000 providers and cover over 17 million health care workers across the country. The regulation will create a consistent standard within Medicare and Medicaid while giving patients assurance of the vaccination status of those delivering care.

Facilities covered by this regulation must establish a policy ensuring all eligible staff have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to providing any care, treatment, or other services by December 6, 2021. All eligible staff must have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4, 2022. The regulation also provides for exemptions based on recognized medical conditions or religious beliefs, observances, or practices. Facilities must develop a similar process or plan for permitting exemptions in alignment with federal law.

Renown will do direct outreach to those employees who have not yet been vaccinated, to be sure they understand the regulations, implications, and options available to them.

Dr. Slonim closed his announcement to employees today by saying, “While we understand this is a heavy issue for many, the mandate is clear and is one we will abide by. It is the right thing to do for our patients and each other.”


About Renown Health

Renown Health is a locally governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. Renown is one of the region’s largest private employers with a workforce of almost 7,000. It comprises three acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation hospital, the area’s most comprehensive medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest and only locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown has a long tradition and commitment to improve the care and the health of our community. For more information, visit renown.org.