Help Prevent Healthcare Worker to Patient COVID19 Transmissions

Help Prevent Healthcare Worker to Patient COVID19 Transmissions

115 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
Petition to
The Office of Human Resources, WellSpan Health Mr. Robert Batory and

Why this petition matters

Started by Waymee Conner

WellSpan Health Human Resources Department has deferred plans of regularly testing unvaccinated healthcare employees for COVID19 until next year. In mid Jan 2022, i.e. after the anticipated rise in COVID19 infections amidst the holiday season, WellSpan will then reconsider testing plans, with actual execution of testing yet to be determined thereafter.

This is turning a blind eye to the higher prevalence of community COVID19 infections when exposure risk is at its highest amidst increased gatherings for the holidays. What we cannot see can hurt us!

It will increase risk of healthcare workers infecting patients, who in this community are largely unvaccinated. As of November 30th, 2021, only 58% of Pennsylvanians are fully vaccinated whereas merely 43.4% in Franklin County, PA. Infecting those who seek our care to improve their health and at times, save their lives, is unethical!

As a health care institution, we should be doing our very best to make decisions that positively impact the community we serve, based on medically-sound logic, scientific data and nothing else. Recent HR’s decision will have the following additional outcomes:

  1. Promoting further spread of this virus is going to allow more virulent strains to emerge that may potentially circumnavigate current COVID19 vaccines. We are already seeing many breakthrough cases locally even amongst the fully vaccinated. This will not only have local implications but global, when more than 5 million lives have already been lost worldwide with the US remaining as the leading nation in COVID19 related deaths with over ¾ million American lives lost, despite having more resources than most, to fight this virus. The rest of the less privileged nations depend on us with more resources to lead the fight against this pandemic.
  2. COVID19 infections amongst staff will cause need for more staff quarantining/isolating, leading to worsening staff shortage, which will inevitably result in poor patient outcome and propagate further staff burnout. For those whose role is managing finances of our healthcare institution, poor patient outcomes equal lawsuits and millions in payouts. Encouraging staff burnout will cause more to quit, further propagating staff shortage.

This HR decision is not patient-centered; instead, is based on the desire to appease those unwilling to be tested regularly. We understand HR’s “desire to retain all our valued team members,” as a reason for this COVID19 testing deferment as stated in the email from the Chief Human Resource Officer on December 2nd, 2021. It is comprehensible that unvaccinated employees’ demonstrations and threats of quitting have likely prompted fear in the HR department. However, the solution to this threat should not be to defer testing at the cost of patients’ COVID19 exposure  within the walls of WellSpan Health.
When considering the value of each of our WellSpan team members, we have to ask ourselves, is each team member equally valuable? And this determination should be based on whether or not their personal values align with WellSpan’s mission statement and the ethical component of healthcare delivery. Each and every one of us at WellSpan Health are the pillars of WellSpan's mission to prioritize patient safety and if some are unwilling to uphold it, e.g. by dodging testing to prevent healthcare worker to patient COVID19 transmission, then maybe they ought not be a part of the healthcare team. Or, do we just want bodies to do the job without that mission in mind? Passionate, ethical people provide better care and are more productive than those bodies that merely are here for a check and hence the focus should be to harness the energy of those productive people without succumbing to the fear of losing those unwilling to uphold our mission.
Those of us who take our Hippocratic Oath “Do no harm” to heart urge HR to reconsider this deferment and instead immediately execute serial testing of those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID19 as previously planned so that we may prevent healthcare workers from infecting our largely unvaccinated patients in Franklin County and beyond. Delays in decision making and execution of plans worldwide have contributed to the longevity of this COVID19 pandemic, as it has stretched on for two years and will be going on for a third year.
It is vital that our community is able to trust us that when they come in for a checkup, a scheduled surgery, a broken bone, cancer treatment or to deliver a baby that they will go home as healthy as before or better and not take home COVID19 infection from us. We want to deliver what we advertise online: “At WellSpan, every day, every staff member takes the safety of…our patients as our top priority.”
WellSpan Health Employees
Keystone Health Employees Working at Chambersburg Hospital
Patients of WellSpan Health

115 have signed. Let’s get to 200!