PRMC CEO Lavender offers masking up insight and policy mandates for care team and visitors
Our health care team has been and always will be dedicated to keeping our patients safe at Pratt Regional Medical Center. In addition to our patients, and just as important, we want all our team members to be safe and healthy — protected from COVID-19 and protecting those around them.
Health care is a heavily regulated business, and it is our obligation to meet our regulatory agencies mandates. PRMC will not break the law or intentionally defy any state or federal agency. One such agency is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which assures the safety of our working conditions under the US. Department of Labor.
Over the last few months, most businesses and the community at large have been opting out of masking up. PRMC and our clinics have continued to require masks in most circumstances, especially patient and public-facing areas. As a health care facility, we are required to meet regulations with use of masks, social distancing, restricting building access, screening upon entry and visitor limitations. We will unfortunately have to continue restrictive measures to meet OHSA requirements and avoid violations and monetary penalties. Therefore, no matter how much we would like to relax our precautions, we cannot do so. Additionally, the vaccination rate has stalled, and we are again seeing COVID-19 cases within our community and our own health care team.
PRMC strongly recommends our community become vaccinated. We expected breakthrough COVID-19 variant cases for some of the vaccinated, but there is no doubt once vaccinated, the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and mortality decrease tremendously. Regardless of your beliefs, whenever a patient or team member sets foot inside our hospital or clinics, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19. It is also important for our community to understand that hostile patients and visitors will not be tolerated, and our plea to the community is that they rally around our health care team. This is not easy work, it is stressful, and our team deserves admiration and respect.
Another controversial and current concern facing health care across the U.S. is mandating vaccinations for the health care workers in private corporations. PRMC is sensitive to balancing the liberties and core beliefs of any individual whether on the health care team or those most vulnerable and in need of our health care services. That being said, the science behind vaccinations and their purpose is sound. Some believe, as I do, that the development of this vaccine is the scientific breakthrough of our lifetime. The science behind the COVID-19 vaccines will identify and stop future pandemics. We are in the field where science drives our daily work, and the advice from clinicians and the medical staff of our hospital and others is valued. As of Monday, Aug. 9, Pratt Regional Medical Center will implement a new policy. All employees of PRMC will be vaccinated or produce proof of having the COVID-19 antibody through exposure. All employees exempting themselves will be required to be tested for the virus on a weekly basis. This policy change is not taken lightly, and it is a model that has been in use by nursing homes. We feel this is a reasonable approach, at this time, that keeps our patients and health care team safe.
Thank you for your understanding and support for the safety of patients and visitors, our coworkers, our families and loved ones and the community.