President and CEO
American Hospital Association
September 9, 2021
The mission of all hospitals and health systems is to care for patients and improve the health of their communities. This includes taking recommended and proven steps to protect both patients and the caregivers and other dedicated staff who proudly support this mission. The AHA has consistently urged all health care workers to be vaccinated and supports hospitals and health systems that chose to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their workforce, based on local factors.
Since the COVID-19 vaccines have become available, hospitals and health systems have been hard at work both to increase vaccination rates among their workforce and their broader community. We have supported hospitals that have mandatory vaccination policies. And, as a result, we have seen a growing number of hospitals and health systems announce mandatory vaccination policies for their workers…and more are doing so each day. In addition, the AHA, along with the American Medical Association and American Nurses Association, has been actively—and repeatedly—calling on the public to get vaccinated and adopt public health measures through the media and public service announcements that have reached millions.
We look forward to reviewing the details related to today’s announcement of these new policies in regard to implementation, timing and the need for appropriate exceptions to accommodate medical and religious concerns. As a practical matter, this policy may result in exacerbating the severe workforce shortage problems that currently exist. Consequently, given the critical challenges that we are facing in maintaining the resiliency of our workforce, and dealing with severe shortages, which the American Nurses Association has called a national crisis, we call on the Administration to work with us as partners in developing aggressive and creative strategies to address this matter to ensure that hospitals and health systems on the front lines of fighting the battle against COVID-19 have the necessary human resources to both win this battle and maintain essential health services for the patients and communities we serve.