Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center announced Thursday it plans to comply with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination program for hospital staff.

Staff members were notified Sept. 2 of the new policy, which requires them to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 31.

The State Board of Health approved the state health department’s proposed rule Aug. 30, requiring licensed healthcare facilities to mandate their personnel to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The rule includes employees, direct contractors and support staff. Because the state health department is a regulating body of HRRMC, the requirement has been extended to HRRMC employees, direct contractors, outlying clinics and support staff.

“Throughout the pandemic, our staff have shown resilience and their commitment to our patients and community,” HRRMC CEO Bob Morasko said.

“We now join hospitals and health systems around the state and country in taking this important step toward ending the pandemic.”

April Asbury, HRRMC vice president of patient services, said, “Over the past week, we have been meeting with and offering our employees education and information about the COVID-19 vaccine and had direct communication touch points and forums to address their concerns and questions.

“We will continue to listen to staff voice their thoughts and support them through the implementation process.”

HRRMC has already offered several employee vaccine clinics following approval of the Pfizer vaccine, now known as the Comirnaty vaccine, Aug. 23 by the Food and Drug Administration.

As of Thursday, 83 percent of HRRMC staff had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 80.5 percent were fully vaccinated. HRRMC employees, medical staff and support staff number 679.

Allison Gergley, director of marketing and public relations, said they have had a few resignations come through but are not sure how many total resignations will actually be received.

She said no layoffs will occur.

“As many facilities may also be seeing, we have staff who feel strongly about both sides of the situation, and we are trying to listen and support every employee who voices their thoughts and provide them with as many resources as possible in order for staff members to make the choice that is best for them,” Gergley said.

The hospital already has in place a mandate requiring an annual flu vaccine, which is a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requirement that HRRMC must follow to remain in compliance.

For more information about the hospital’s response to COVID-19, visit hrrmc.com/covid-19-updates.

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