As we are all keenly aware, the COVID-19 pandemic represents a difficult and evolving challenge in the way we conduct our respective operations. Nowhere is that more acutely true than in the provision of healthcare services to already compromised and vulnerable patients. As a quaternary care hospital system, it is important for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (“VUMC”) to take all reasonable and necessary steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure for our patients, staff, visitors, and for those persons, such as your staff, who are from time to time on our campuses to support our various operations. Steps VUMC has adopted that may affect your operations at our facilities are summarized below.
- None of your employees or representatives who have a fever, otherwise feel sick (including COVID-19 symptoms), should come to a VUMC facility in the course of their work. For any of your employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, they should not come to a VUMC facility in the course of their work until:
- 10 days from COVID-19 symptom onset or positive test result,
- They have been fever-free without fever-reducing medicine for 24 hours, and
- their symptoms have improved.
- Your employees or representatives should continue to practice social distancing of 6 feet or more whenever possible in their interactions with VUMC staff or others.
- Masking has been an important and effective tool in the battle against COVID-10. VUMC is again mandating appropriate facial coverings for all persons while inside any building at all Vanderbilt Health system locations (hospitals or clinics). This requirements extends to all employees, visitors, and others (including vendor representatives) on site at a VUMC location. There are no exceptions to this masking requirement regardless of vaccination or anti-body status, the amount of time on site, or the nature of the visit.
- In addition, advances in COVID-19 vaccinations have provided all of us with a significant tool to make a dramatic and necessary impact in the spread of this disease. With the recent full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and the potential full approval of other vaccination options, VUMC has adopted the requirement that all VUMC personnel be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive an exemption from the vaccination requirement. VUMC is now extending that policy to those organizations and vendors whose services or sales to VUMC necessitate more than nominal face-to-face interaction with VUMC staff. All persons who are not VUMC employees, but have more than nominal face-to-face interaction with VUMC staff (and any interaction at all with VUMC patients), are required to be vaccinated or receive an exemption from you as their employer. For clarity, nominal interaction with VUMC staff could be represented by delivery drivers who only briefly interact with VUMC staff to obtain a signature validating the delivery. More extensive interactions with VUMC staff, such as joint loading or unloading of merchandise or material, or interactions of more than 15 minutes and within 6 feet, would be considered more than nominal based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. VUMC is currently relying on each vendor to screen its own employees and exercise its own good faith discretion in granting vaccination exemptions for medical or religious/spiritual reasons. Exemption standards should at a minimum comply with the standards set out in the ADA for medical accommodations and the EEOC for religious accommodations. Vendors or their employees should be prepared to provide proof of vaccination (or exemption) if requested by VUMC. VUMC reserves the right to require evidence of a periodic (potentially weekly) negative COVID test for vendor representatives who have received an exemption from the vaccination requirement. Masking and (where possible) social distancing, should still be practiced during all interactions. Because circumstances around COVID continue to evolve, VUMC’s vaccination and other policies are subject to revision from time to time.
Masking and social distance requirements are already in place and currently enforced. VUMC has established a deadline of November 15, 2021 for full compliance with the vaccination requirements noted above. If you are a participant in Vendormate, current details concerning the policy, requirements and exemption process may be found there. The specific requirements are subject to revision by VUMC from time to time as VUMC deems necessary;
We appreciate your ongoing support of VUMC’s mission and your understanding of our need to take these additional steps. If you believe that compliance with these requirements may result in an interruption in your ability to service VUMC per the terms of your contract, please advise the VUMC Sourcing Officer or VUMC department representative through whom you have the primary VUMC relationship, at your earliest convenience.