After choosing to postpone implementation of an August 27 vaccination mandate deadline ordered by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Sierra Vista Hospital governing board members returned to the issue in a special meeting Thursday, September 9 and agreed to begin full compliance, effective immediately.
In this regard, board members approved a policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, and to comply with subsequent followup and/or booster vaccinations. The policy stresses compliance with the vaccination mandate is a current condition of employment with the hospital. The measure further affirms that staff members refusing to be vaccinated, or if qualified exempt, to be tested weekly, will be terminated for non-compliance and may not be eligible for unemployment compensation.
Following up this action, governing board members approved a 15-percent across-the-board pay increase for all SVH staff members, also effective immediately. Governing board chairman Greg D’Amour said this incentive will be maintained for at least the next four pay periods and would be reevaluated in October.
According to previous statements to the governing board, a significant number of SVH staff members have thus far refrained from participating in the vaccination program and have similarly expressed resistance to testing mandates.
The decision to move forward in compliance with the governor’s mandate will align SVH with hospitals across the state, and will likely prevent the hospital from incurring fines, penalties, and or other established sanctions for perceived non-compliance.
How the statewide mandate may effect the staffing of SVH and other medical facilities has yet to be fully realized locally, or in Santa Fe.