In a new post from Al Cross at The Rural Blog, some rural health care facilities are so concerned over vaccine mandates for the current COVID-19 pandemic, they fear the resulting medical staff shortage will lead to hospital and clinic closures, especially in rural areas already struggling with medical care access.

From the post: “Wright quotes rural hospital leaders who worry that the mandate will make the labor shortage so bad in some hospitals that they will have to close. “Dr. Randy Tobler, CEO and director of women’s services at Scotland County Hospital in rural Memphis, Missouri, said his hospital will abide by Biden’s mandate, but some staff members have told him they will quit rather than get vaccinated.”

Brock Slabach, chief operations officer for the National Rural Health Association, told Wright, “I’ve talked with administrators of hospitals that have estimated anywhere from 3 percent to as much as 20 percent of their workforce may have to quit their jobs if they’re required to have the vaccine as a condition of their employment. In a rural hospital, that could be two, maybe three nurses, which could cripple their ability to meet the demands of patient care.”

With concerns turning into fear, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services not setting a solid date for the vaccine mandate requirements, facilities in many states with low rural vaccination rates are dreading the day when the mandate is finally set in stone.

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