JFL Explains Importance of Its Vaccine Mandate

Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center interim Chief Executive Officer Dyma Williams testifies before a Senate committee. (Legislature photo)

The Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital & Medical Center (JFL) has recognized and continues to recognize the importance of each and every employee role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Interim Chief Executive Officer Dyma Williams, “This pandemic is a major health crisis and healthcare professionals and our dedicated JFL staff have led the way in the territory’s response. It is our responsibility to lead in recovery and eradication of COVID-19 through vaccination. We ask for the public’s understanding and support as we work to create a safer patient care experience through this pandemic surge and in the future as we change to meet the needs of the community.

“Together, we have endured 17 months of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the dynamic changes in healthcare brought about by this virus. Together, we will overcome the challenges we are currently facing.”

Keeping skilled local nurses and employees is a top priority for JFL. The goal of the vaccine mandate is not to exclude anyone, but to ensure the safety of staff and patients and the overall community.

Fact vs. Fiction

Fiction: JFL is the only hospital requiring vaccination of healthcare providers.

Fact: JFL and Schneider join 123 other hospitals, plus two states — New York and California – in requiring vaccination for healthcare workers.

In addition, employees at JFL are required to have several other vaccines given the sensitivity of patient care.

Fiction: A plane full of nurses is being brought in to replace nurses who refuse to be vaccinated.

Fact: The nurses that have been engaged are for the surge. The process of bringing these nurses to the territory commenced in the beginning of the pandemic in preparation for a surge. As the sole, acute hospital on St. Croix, patient care must continue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days per year. We are thankful for all employees who help us to achieve this important goal.

Fiction: Nurses at JFL did not receive hazardous pay for care of COVID-19 patients.

Fact: All employees with direct patient care responsibilities to COVID-19 patients receive a COVID-19 differential.

Fiction: JFL has made no efforts to hire employees during the pandemic.

Fact: JFL has made several efforts to recruit employees. It continued to make every effort to recruit staff in response to the surge. There are many difficulties including GERS, housing costs, geographical isolation and salaries that are no longer competitive in a post-COVID-19 world.

For more information on COVID-19, visit the V.I. Department of Health’s website at www.doh.vi.gov  or text COVID19USVI to 888777.