While the CMS mandate for healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 has been stalled by a federal judge injunction, some ASC administrators are still concerned about how it could affect businsess.
Joe Peluso, administrator of Aestique Surgery Center in Greensburg, Pa., told Becker's he feels the inconsistency of the mandate could put ASCs in a compromising position.
Editor's note: This interview has been edited lightly for brevity and clarity.
Joe Peluso: The inconsistency of the COVID-19 vaccination mandate places ASCs, as well as healthcare systems, in a unique compromising position to deliver quality care critical for the health and well-being of the communities served. Few issues are as important as the challenges facing the healthcare workforce, such as retirement, burnout, staff shortages, etc., many of which were present prior to the pandemic and are now only exacerbated and accelerated by the vaccine mandate.
The reality is that if the vaccine mandates are not permanently rescinded, the gaps created in the healthcare workforce employment will result in a serious inability to meet the needs of patients who have increasingly been relying upon the healthcare delivery system, especially the growing elderly and vulnerable populations.
Healthcare organizations nationally have experienced similar issues due to complying with the mandates, such as incurring higher costs in competing for qualified clinical staff, the need to use agency and temporary staffing and the increasing costs of supplies, all of which are causing financial pressure on ASCs and the healthcare industry.
Healthcare organizations need to implore CMS to immediately rescind the mandates and ask Congress to provide adequate reimbursement for services provided by ASCs that have been financially negatively impacted by the pandemic.