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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Logan Health will require employees to be vaccinated

Moderna COVID vaccine in a small bottle

A hospital network in northwest Montana is among the many health care systems in the state that will follow a federal rule requiring staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Hospitals that don’t comply could lose federal funding.

Logan Health says it will require all of its workers to have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 6, the deadline given in the rule from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Earlier this month the Montana Hospital Association said hospitals in the state will comply with the order to protect patients. Not complying with the rule could lead to a loss of Medicaid and Medicare funding. Logan Health in a statement said over 400,000 medical visits a year to its facilities are paid for by Medicaid or Medicare, and it will comply with the rule because failure to do so could threaten its ability to operate.

The CMS rule says it trumps any state law prohibiting vaccine mandates, like Montana’s House Bill 702. Logan has over 4,000 employees. A spokesperson for Logan Health said they did not have information about how many employees are currently vaccinated.

A separate vaccine mandate from Occupational Safety and Health Administration applying to employers with 100 or more workers has been suspended by the courts.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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