Intermountain, MountainStar, pause employee COVID vaccine requirements amid legal challenges

The two healthcare providers are awaiting guidance from the courts following a nationwide stay on the federal government’s vaccine requirement for caregivers.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Intermountain Medical Center in Murray on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021.

Two Utah healthcare providers are pausing COVID-19 vaccine requirements for caregivers until the legality of vaccine mandates is decided in the courts, according to a Tuesday statement from Intermountain Healthcare.

Intermountain is joined by MountainStar Healthcare/HCA Healthcare in this temporary halt. A nationwide stay issued Nov. 30 by a federal court put the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requirement on hold, so Intermountain is temporarily pausing its suspension of caregivers who do not adhere to the requirement.

According to a statement from Intermountain, 95% of Intermountain Healthcare’s caregivers have complied with the government requirement prior to the pause. The deadline for the original requirement was Dec. 5, and Intermountain continues “to encourage those remaining unvaccinated caregivers to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

MountainStar/HCA did not have a mandated vaccination prior to the CMS requirement, according to a statement, although it had encouraged employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Because recent federal court decisions have resulted in the CMS mandate being put on hold indefinitely, we have paused our vaccine requirement, except in states that have mandated vaccination,” Mountainstar wrote in a statement. “We continue to strongly encourage our colleagues to be vaccinated as a critical step to protect individuals from the virus and the majority of HCA Healthcare colleagues have been fully vaccinated.”

The University of Utah Health’s vaccine requirement remains in place as they await more direction from state officials, a spokesperson said Tuesday night.