The Montana Hospital Association on Wednesday affirmed the state's ban on workplace vaccine mandates is back to being the law of the land for health providers, after federal immunization requirements for health workers were paused nationwide by a federal judge Tuesday.
"With the federal COVID-19 vaccination requirement now on hold, Montana hospitals have ceased the implementation of the federal vaccine mandate and will focus on continued compliance with Montana state law," the association stated in a press release. "Montana health care providers have been in the very difficult position of complying with conflicting state and federal laws."
Montana Hospital Association spokeswoman Katie Peterson said the group hadn't surveyed all its members, but conversations with some hospitals and their legal counsels determined that the ruling means they have to halt plans to require employees to get the shot. Hospitals in the state have previously "signaled intentions" to comply with the state law, she said.
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid issued requirements in October that require health care providers to inoculate employees against COVID-19 or lose funding through the two federal programs. The rule was immediately challenged by multiple states, including Montana.
A separate ruling blocking the federal rule last week had only applied to 10 states involved in that case, which Montana wasn't a part of.