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Feds question NY hospitals for giving board members vaccines

| Jan 21, 2021 | Health & Health Care Law |

The COVID-19 vaccine is making its way throughout the community, but who gets the vaccine first? The answer to this question is not always clear and some hospital systems are finding themselves publicly chastised for failing to go in what others may view as the “proper order.”

So what is the “right” order? Like many things in healthcare, there is no clear answer. We know the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends high risk healthcare workers and those on the front line receive priority for the vaccine, but even this leaves some things up for interpretation. Some systems are the subject of questions from feds because hospital board members have received the vaccine that may not qualify for these exceptions. These board members, critics point out, appear to be in good health and otherwise not in a high-risk position that would warrant an early roll out for the vaccine.  In response, some systems issued statements noting that board members who received the vaccine are volunteers within the hospital system. Since they volunteer within the healthcare marketplace, the statement continues, these board members qualify for the vaccine.

It is also important to note that in addition to the federal guidelines outlined by the CDC above, state guidelines are also present.  An official for the New York State Health Department has stated that they are looking into the matter. The representative noted that the mere qualification as a volunteer may not be enough to warrant board members getting the vaccine. This could lead to further investigation and potential ramifications if the department can find any violations.

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