Ascension to require COVID-19 vaccination for associates

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — Like many health systems across the country, Ascension, a health care provider, which includes Dowagiac’s Ascension Borgess Lee Hospital, is moving to require associates to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to a Tuesday statement, Ascension conducted a thorough moral and ethical analysis as part of the decision-making process.

“This decision is rooted in our mission commitment to leading with quality and safety,” the statement reads. “As a healthcare provider and as a Catholic ministry, ensuring we have a culture of safety for our associates, patients and communities is foundational to our work.”

Ascension will require that all associates be vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they provide direct patient care, and whether they work in Ascension sites of care or remotely. This includes associates employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities.

The timeline for completing the vaccine series and meeting this requirement will be Nov. 12, which is aligned with Ascension’s annual influenza vaccination requirement.

In those instances when someone may not be able to get vaccinated due to a medical condition or strongly held religious belief, Ascension will provide a process for requesting an exemption similar to the process it uses for the annual influenza vaccine. In addition, this requirement will be implemented in accordance with collective bargaining agreements reached between Ascension business entities and unions representing its associates.

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