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Steamboat Springs — Yampa Valley Medical Center has implemented a new policy making flu shots mandatory for its employees. Under the new policy, which took effect Monday, YVMC employees are required to get flu shots by the end of the year. The policy states that consequences for not getting the flu shot include termination. There are exemptions for health or religious reasons, but anyone without a vaccination must wear a surgical mask while in contact with patients, according to the policy. For Dr. Mark McCaulley, YVMC’s medical director of infection prevention, the hospital’s stance on the issue is firm in the interest of patient safety.
“It’s appropriate and imperative,” he said about the new policy. “We don’t want to deprive people of their right to individual choice, but if you’re going to work in health care, we have those obligations.” YVMC is not alone in its new policy. On the heels of a February decision by the Colorado Board of Health, state-accredited health care facilities in Colorado must prove 90 percent of their employees are receiving the vaccination by the end of 2014. The requirement goes up incrementally: Facilities must prove 60 percent compliance this year, 75 percent the next year and 90 percent every year after that.
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