Accuracy of federal statistics on the most invasive hospitals in question


A federal database that tracks hospital COVID vaccinations for staff in every health system is grossly flawed, according to five hospital systems that appear to have the highest number of unvaccinated workers in the country.

“When we reviewed these numbers in the past, they were inaccurate,” Jeff Grainger, director of external communications for AdventHealth in Central Florida, wrote in an email to MedPage today.

the federal database showed that for the week of data collection that began Jan. 7, Adventist Health Orlando had 18,576 unvaccinated workers and 637 workers who received a vaccine in a multiple-dose series. Another 25,253 workers were fully vaccinated.

“We don’t have 44,000 employees in one hospital,” Grainger said. At last count, Grainger said, 96% of team members at his hospital had complied with the CMS vaccine mandate. He said AdventHealth strongly encourages vaccination as a safe and effective way to reduce the risk of infection and the level of harm should an infection break through.

MedPage today contacted these hospital systems and also called and emailed several times to contact several HHS officials with requests for explanation. Federal officials did not respond at press time. It is unclear whether this dataset will be used to enforce vaccination mandates for healthcare workers.

The information is critical in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago that upheld a Nov. 5 federal ruling. mandate that almost all people who work in certain health organizations such as hospitals that receive federal reimbursement from Medicaid or Medicare must be fully immunized.

A spokeswoman for University of Illinois Hospital Chicago — the health system whose federal database showed it had the second-highest number of unvaccinated staff — also said the database figures were incorrect. It showed that 12,049 workers had received no vaccinations and 272 had only received one dose.

The data “includes not only our hospital staff, but also our health science faculties in the denominator,” wrote Jacqueline Carey, of the hospital system’s public affairs department. She added that the federal spreadsheet only provides data on vaccinations provided by the Unemployment Insurance health system and Employee Health Services. Vaccinations given to staff elsewhere, such as through an employee’s personal supplier or pharmacy, are not included in the data, so these workers appear not to be vaccinated when they have received all their vaccines.

Carey added that his health system has required immunizations for hospital and clinic workers and all active university employees who “work with our health system,” including students, residents, faculty at the College of Medicine. , security, building services employees and others. The deadline to comply was October 1, 2021.

While the federal website says Unemployment Insurance has some 23,174 workers, there were actually only 6,530 as of Jan. 19, Carey said. Of these, 6,270 or 96% were fully vaccinated, 329 were unvaccinated, including those with approved exemptions, and 21 were partially vaccinated. She said all of this information was reported to CMS.

People who are not fully vaccinated should be tested twice a week, at least 48 hours apart, Carey wrote.

A spokesperson for one of the five organizations that appears to have one of the highest numbers of unvaccinated staff speculated the background in a phone interview as a possible reason for the discrepancy. The rep said hospitals are contracting with various agencies for short-term nursing staff or travellers. While the agencies assure the hospital as part of its contract that nurses sent to the organization are vaccinated, the hospital does not independently verify this information.

It’s likely that those personnel will show up as unvaccinated in the federal database, the spokesperson said.

New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital was listed last week as having the third highest number of unvaccinated workers. But spokeswoman Lucia Lee also said MedPage today that their data is inaccurate. Mount Sinai Health System – including Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Morningside, Mount Sinai West, Mount Sinai Queens, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai Brooklyn, Mount Sinai South Nassau and New York Eye and Ear at Mount Sinai – vaccinated 99% of its 43,000+ employees, Lee wrote.

Representatives from Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans and Orlando Health Regional Medical Center, which the federal database had the fourth and fifth highest numbers of unvaccinated workers, echoed concerns that which their statistics were also wrong.

A spokeswoman for Ochsner responded that 99.57% of its more than 34,000 employees are compliant with our COVID-19 vaccination policy, with 95% of Ochsner Health and Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport employees being fully vaccinated, and the remainder having approved medical or religious exemptions or deferrals. .

Kena Lewis, spokeswoman for the Orlando Regional Medical Center, did not give that health system’s immunization rates, but disputed federal data that said the hospital has 44,154 workers.

The hospital is one of 10 network hospitals in Orlando, and the network has a total of 23,709 employees. She said the system “continues to review guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements for healthcare organizations and will take appropriate action.”

  • Cheryl Clark has been a medical and science journalist for over three decades.


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