NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The president’s message is clear: If nursing homes want federal funding, then all of their staff must be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The ultimatum can put nursing homes in a tough spot already faced with a worker shortage, and dependent on funding from Medicare and Medicaid,
No one is more concerned about that possibility at the Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk than President and CEO Tom Orsini.
“How come just nursing home workers? How come not all health care workers?” Orsini said.
He thinks targeting nursing homes is fundamentally unfair.
“First of all why the nursing homes? Why not all providers who receive Medicaid and Medicare funding. Why not them?” he asked.
Orsini says there are plenty of health care providers that are not targeted.
“You have people in doctor offices, dialysis centers, they are dealing with medically compromised people. Why aren’t they being mandated to be vaccinated?” he said.
It hurts the Lake Taylor facility because it depends soley on federal funding.
For months, Orsini has strongly encouraged staff to get fully vaccinated. That stands now at 55-60%.
If you work at Lake Taylor, and don’t get vaccinated, you come into a testing room twice a week to get COVID tested. It appears many will take the COVID test instead of getting the vaccine, so the COVID test is unnecessary.
Orsini now expects with a presidential order, more staff will get vaccinated who haven’t done so for various reasons.
“It may be fears of infertility. They don’t trust the medical community. They’ve already had the virus. Why do they need to take the vaccine? They have a history of arthritis, or a history of blood clots … medical … religious [reasons],” he said.
He also thinks local hospitals announcing Wednesday that all their employees will be vaccinated by Oct. 18 was due to the writing on the wall of what the president will eventually order for all hospitals.
“Hospitals have put out mandates for their employees who right now have no risk of losing funding, but that could be coming down the road if they don’t,”