BERLIN — Following the deadline of their employee vaccine mandate Friday, North Country Healthcare said they lost about 6 percent of their staff members due to the mandate.
North Country Healthcare Systems Director for Marketing James A. Patry said the company had 94 percent of its employees vaccinated and that about 6 percent of employees left employment due to the mandate.
Systemwide, the company had 55 staff members leave due to the mandate, with seven who have received partial vaccinations and were on leave until they are fully vaccinated, which would be two weeks after receiving their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Once proof of a second vaccine and the relevant two-week interval following the vaccine has passed, those employees are then able to return to full employment, he said.
Of those staff members that are no longer employed, he said the hospital received 42 resignations, while the remaining 13 left and did not give any formal resignation.
At Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Patry said 21 staff members had left due to failure to obtain a vaccine, while two had received partial vaccinations. Of the 21 staff members, 15 had resigned, while the remainder did not give any formal notice of resignation.
In response to the question as to why staff resigned before being terminated, Patry said, “Individuals who resigned may have done so to claim the earned time that they had accumulated.”
Patry said even with the resignations, the system is doing quite well. He said Androscoggin Valley Hospital would be welcoming four new employees Wednesday and additional new staff members would come on board next week. He said that due to the system’s policy, all new hires are fully vaccinated.
Patry also said interviews were being conducted Tuesday to fill more staff positions although a specific number was not provided.
Patry said when the hospitals have a low volume of staff members from one department, those from other departments are shared to ensure necessary coverage.
Patry said the hospital gave ample notice to employees regarding the vaccine mandate, which the system imposed in August following the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
Patry said staff had to either be vaccinated or provide a medical or religious exemption to the mandate, which was reviewed by a committee formed by North Country Healthcare. He said vaccinated employees were required to provide their vaccine cards so that the information could be confirmed by North Country Healthcare staff.