Fining hospitals for failing to comply with COVID vaccination mandates is nuts.

We’ve reached the point of lunacy in the Ocean State.  Katherine Gregg reports for the Providence Journal:

The Rhode Island Department of Health has slapped violation notices on Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket and the state-run Eleanor Slater Hospital for failing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

If both Landmark and the state hospital cannot assure the Health Department within 10 days that all of their unvaccinated employees have been barred from entry, they will be fined and “prohibited from admitting new elective or non-emergency patients.”

According to the article, there are only 21 unvaccinated employees at Landmark, which has 1,159 employees.  For that slight transgression — during a nursing shortage, during a government-proclaimed health crisis — the state is threatening to take money out of the system via a fine while also preventing the hospital from making money through non-emergency services, thus forcing patients to suffer.

This is what bureaucratic tyranny looks like.

That small number of employees is well within the range in which an organization can make adjustments and consider things on a case-by-case basis.  For all we know, all 21 have had COVID and are immune to the disease.  Others may be willing to be constantly tested and wear protective gear.  Others can perhaps find roles that minimize risks for coworkers, patients, and visitors — coworkers, patients, and visitors, by the way, who have overwhelmingly been vaccinated against the disease anyway.

Again and again, two forces seem to be driving decisions, and neither is the actual threat of COVID.  The first is terror among the fearful that when it comes down to it other people might not have to do whatever they say.  The second is the need of government officials, whose orders did more damage than they wanted to acknowledge, to craft a narrative path out of the pandemic that doesn’t raise too many questions, and they’ve settled on zero COVID and 100% vaccination as the magic escape.  Lockdowns and years-long emergency orders locked them into cracking down hard, and they’ve got to see it through to the end.


Featured image from Google Maps Street View.

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