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All Centre Care Staff Will Be Vaccinated By October Under White House Mandate

Centre Care nursing home
Emily Reddy
All staff at Centre Care nursing home, formerly known as Centre Crest, will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by early October under President Biden's mandate.

Centre Care in College Township said it’s on track to meet President Biden’s goal to vaccinate all staff working at nursing homes that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding by early October.

“I’m using the power of the federal government, as a payer of healthcare costs, to ensure we reduce those risks to our most vulnerable seniors,” Biden said in an August announcement.

Centre Care, the nursing home formerly known as Centre Crest, is one of three facilities in Centre County that accept Medicaid patients. More than 85% of its staff are already vaccinated.

Board President Betsy Boyer said staff have until October 5th to get vaccinated or face termination, unless they have medical or religious reasons not to. She said while vaccines are important in keeping people safe, it’s just as crucial that they don’t lose federal funding.

“We’re the largest facility [in the county] that takes Medicaid residents. So for that funding to be pulled, for us, would just be devastating,” Boyer said.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Association issued a statement last month, saying this requirement would exacerbate an existing workforce shortage in an industry that is “on the brink of collapse.”

“Unfortunately,” president and CEO Zach Shamberg wrote, “providers were given a clear choice by the President: risk losing essential frontline workers, or risk the state and federal reimbursement it will take to compensate those workers.”

Boyer said she hopes Centre Care won’t lose staff because of the mandate.

“Finding staff in any medical profession right now is extremely, extremely difficult,” she said. “There’s a shortage for sure. And getting good, qualified LPNs, RNs and CNAs is difficult. Nobody’s gonna want to have to see a loss of staff.”

Min Xian reported at WPSU from 2016-2022.
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