COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The CEO of one Columbus hospital system is expressing concerns as his organization prepares to institute a COVID vaccine mandate for all employees

Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, Piedmont Columbus Regional will require COVID vaccines for all of its more than 3,000 employees. St. Francis-Emory Healthcare CEO Melody Trimble told News 3 earlier this month that her hospital system is not there yet. St. Francis-Emory Healthcare is strongly encouraging its nearly 2,000 employees to get vaccinated, but had not mandated it.

Piedmont Columbus Regional CEO Scott Hill explains why he believes the COVID vaccine should be mandatory for medical staff, and why it will be for all 11 Piedmont Georgia hospitals.

“We would hate for somebody to come into one of our facilities for anything, not having COVID and having gotten COVID from one of our staff members,” Hill said. “And we know nationwide, there have been instances where people have come into the hospital for something and left with COVID or perhaps never left the hospital because they contracted COVID while they were in there.”

Tuesday, St. Francis is holding a job fair for its medical group. Another for the hospital is set for after Labor Day. Right now, Piedmont has 400 open jobs. St. Francis on Monday did not say how many jobs it had available.

St. Francis-Emory Healthcare spokesperson Grant Farrimond issued the following statement when asked by News 3 about the job fair:

“St. Francis-Emory Healthcare continually looks to add talented professionals to its dedicated staff. We will be holding job fairs beginning this Tuesday, Aug. 31, and again in mid-September to fill important roles within our organization for both clinical and non-clinical roles such as Patient Access Representatives, Certified Medical Assistants, Ultrasound Techs, Phlebotomists, LPNs and RNs,” the statement read.

Could Piedmont lose staff to St. Francis?

“From our perspective, we hope that none of our staff leave,” Hill said. “But we do stand behind the requirement for the COVID vaccine.”

But there is a bigger question in Hill’s mind.

“People have left our organization and gone to St. Francis and people have left St. Francis and come here,” Hill said. “That’s a reality in this community. But as I mentioned prior, the fact that they don’t have the vaccine requirement for their staff is challenging for this community.”
And here’s why Hill says that.

“It is certainly disappointing that St. Francis-Emory does not have the vaccine requirement for their staff,” Hill said. “They do in the Atlanta hospitals, but they don’t here. And I think that’s an interesting question for our community.”

News 3 reached back out to St. Francis-Emory Healthcare and Farrimond for comment on Hill’s statements. Farrimond declined to comment.