June 15, 2021

Around the nation: Federal judge dismisses lawsuit against Houston Methodist over vaccination requirement

Daily Briefing

    U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit by employees of Houston Methodist Hospital challenging the hospital's Covid-19 vaccination requirement, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Texas.

    • District of Columbia: HHS on Friday announced four deadlines for providers to spend or return unused funds from the Provider Relief Fund. Providers who received those funds between April 10 and June 30, 2020, have until June 30, 2021, to return or use unused funds. Providers who received funds after June 30, 2020, will have staggered deadlines through the end of 2022 to return or use unused funds, with the final deadline on Dec. 31, 2022. HHS also extended reporting requirements for providers, allowing recipients of funds to have a 90-day period to complete reporting, rather than the current 30-day period (Bannow/Hellmann, Modern Healthcare, 6/11; Armour, Wall Street Journal, 6/11; King, Fierce Healthcare, 6/11).
    • Georgia: Emory Healthcare has named Brad Haws as CFO, effective August 17. Haws most recently served as associate VP and CFO of University of Iowa Health Care and previously served as CEO of the University of Virginia Physicians and as adviser to the medical school's dean. Emory's current CFO, Jimmy Hatcher, will work with the health system through the end of 2021 before retiring in January (Gooch, Becker's Hospital Review, 6/10).
    • Texas: U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit by employees of Houston Methodist Hospital challenging the hospital's Covid-19 vaccination requirement. In his ruling, Hughes said the hospital is "trying to do their business of saving lives without giving [employees] the Covid-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer." Last week, the hospital suspended 178 employees who had refused to receive a vaccine, noting that those who did not get vaccinated by June 21 would be terminated from the hospital's employ. Jared Woodfill, the plaintiffs' lawyer, said the plaintiffs would appeal the ruling. Separately, Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom late Saturday said, "Our employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do" (Kaplan, New York Times, 6/13; Romero, NBC News, 6/13; Shammas/Firozi, Washington Post, 6/13; Associated Press, 6/13; Yücel, NPR, 6/13).

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