County can’t agree on vaccine policy

Courtesy photo Alamosa County website

ALAMOSA — Following an executive session, the Alamosa Board of County Commissioners entered a public session to vote on a proposed vaccine policy. The lone aye for the proposed plan was Commissioner Vern Heersink.

On August 30, 2021, the Colorado Board of Health adopted an emergency addition to the Code of Colorado Regulations mandating vaccination of 100% of employees, direct contractors, and support staff at health facilities, including assisted living residences, community clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and more. Under the new rule, facilities are responsible for implementing a policy to reach that goal. The policy would also need to address a list of staff exemptions and the reasons why as well as measures taken by the facility to protect members of the public.

A proposed policy plan from the County had mere days to find traction as the first deadline of Sept. 30 is fast approaching. According to the newly adopted rule, facilities have until Oct. 31 for affected staff including but not limited to licensed independent practitioners, students and trainees, visiting n u r s i n g s t a f f ; a n d persons not directly involved in client care but are potentially exposed to infectious agents to be fully vaccinated. Meaning they would need to have their first dose on Sept. 30.

The next deadline is Oct. 1, when facilities are required to report vaccination rates to the Colorado Board of Health.

Under the Alamosa County banner is SLV Home Health. Home Health provides traveling nurses and nursing aides for various services like assessment, education, wound care, bathing and more. Home Health also offers physical therapy. A non-profit, Home Health offers services to a wide array of applicants including to some that may not qualify for Medicare, and covers all six counties in the San Luis Valley.

Since the plan tanked by a 1-2 measure on Tuesday, Alamosa County’s applicable facilities may expect communication from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the enforcing body on the Colorado Code of Regulations. Enforcement of the new rule as listed in the code of regulations could include the revocation/ suspension of a facility’s license.

The Board of Health will convene again in October in a regular session to consider the rule.

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