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December 15, 2021

Around the nation: Supreme Court declines to block New York's Covid-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers

Daily Briefing

    The Supreme Court refused to block a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers in New York, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California and New York.

    • California: California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly on Monday announced that the state would reinstate a mask mandate for all indoor public areas, effective Dec. 15. Notably, Covid-19 infections in the state have increased by nearly 50% since Thanksgiving. While some California counties already have indoor mask mandates in place, this statewide mandate will be in effect for one month. (Chen, Axios, 12/13)
    • New York: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to block New York's Covid-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers after a group of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers sued the state on the grounds that the mandate violated their religious freedoms because it did not accommodate religious exemptions. Previously, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) implemented a vaccine mandate for health care workers that allowed for religious exemptions. But when current Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) took office, she updated the mandate to no longer include religious exemptions. As of Oct. 19, around 90% of health care workers in the state had been fully vaccinated, and many of the remaining 10% had received one of two doses. Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito dissented. (Chen, Axios, 12/13; AP/Modern Healthcare, 12/13)
    • New York: Columbia University Irving Medical Center announced that Katrina Armstrong will take over as CEO, effective March 1, 2022. She will succeed Anil Rustgi, who has served as the health system's interim CEO for over a year. Armstrong, who currently serves as the physician-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital, has two decades of experience researching cancer, genomics, and health care disparities. At Massachusetts General, Armstrong founded the Center for Educational Innovation and Scholarship. Most recently, she examined disparities in rural areas and formed partnerships with Lakota tribal communities and organizations throughout western South Dakota. (Jensik, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/13)

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