All Madison Health Care Systems now requiring employees to get vaccinated

Meriter hospital

MADISON, Wis. — UnityPoint Health is the latest local health care provider in the area to announce it is requiring all staff members to get vaccinated from COVID-19 — or face losing their job.

The organization, which has 33,000 employees across three states, announced Thursday afternoon they would be requiring everyone to be fully vaccinated by November 1, 2021.

Those who refuse the vaccine will be asked to resign or will be fired. However, they can request an exemption for medical or religious reasons, which is the case with the health system’s other vaccine requirements.

“We remain incredibly grateful to our health care providers, who have seen the devastation of COVID-19 up close and personal over the past 18 months,” UnityPoint Health president and CEO Clay Holderman said in a statement announcing the requirement. “After thoughtful consideration, we believe this vaccination requirement will help keep our team members, patients and communities as healthy as possible, so we can focus on what we do best—delivering exceptional care to those we serve.”

Officials with UnityPoint Health tell News 3 Now that 62.3% of the organization’s 33,000 team members received their shots through them, but that number does not include those who may have gotten their vaccines elsewhere. The number is much higher in Madison, where 80% of team members got their vaccines through UnityPoint Health.

The decision means all major health care providers in the Madison area — UnityPoint Health, UW Health and SSM Health — will require employees to be fully vaccinated by the start of November.

This comes after the Wisconsin Medical Society put out a statement Monday urging health care providers to mandate the vaccine.

When you go into health care, you sign on to take care and protect your patients,” said WMS CEO Dr. Bud Chumbley “Whether you’re a physician, or you’re a nurse, or a nursing tech, that’s what you’ve signed on for, kind of.  The same reason you get a flu vaccine.”

Chumbley said he and other healthcare systems are prepared for employees to attempt legal action.

You can sue anyone for anything, anytime,” he said. “I think they can do that.”