HCN News & Notes

JGS Lifecare Announces Vaccine Mandate for All Employees

LONGMEADOW ­­— JGS Lifecare announced that it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. JGS Lifecare is a founding member of Legacy Lifecare, a network of not-for-profit organizations that also includes Chelsea Jewish Lifecare of Chelsea and Peabody, Deutsches Altenheim of West Roxbury, and Elizabeth Seton Residence and Marillac Residence of Wellesley. The network is the first long-term-care provider group in Massachusetts to issue a vaccine mandate for its employees.

“Our top priority is always the health of our residents and our staff,” said Adam Berman, president and CEO of Legacy Lifecare. “With over 323 million doses administered in the United States, the COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective. After consulting with experts and careful consideration, we feel strongly that requiring staff to be vaccinated is the most important action we can do to ensure the safety of our long-term-care communities.”

JGS Lifecare and other Legacy Lifecare affiliates plan to implement the mandate once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration grants final approval of one of the three vaccines. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will be a condition of employment for all staff members and volunteers, with exemptions limited to religious and medical reasons. This is consistent with the network’s approach to the flu vaccine.

Since last December, when vaccines were first made available to healthcare workers, Legacy Lifecare has conducted an extensive education campaign titled “Superheroes Saving Lives.” More than 75% of the approximately 1,800 employees throughout the Legacy Lifecare network are currently vaccinated, achieving the national goal for long-term-care providers. To further prepare for this mandate, senior leadership will continue to offer comprehensive information about vaccine safety and efficacy, including encouraging employees to ask questions and addressing concerns on a one-on-one basis. In addition, all campuses will offer on-site vaccination clinics to facilitate meeting this important requirement.

The organization thanked its employees for their dedication, loyalty, courage, and compassion. “COVID-19 has been devastating, especially for those of us who care for the most vulnerable,” Berman said. “I am so proud of our staff and how they have persevered throughout these challenging times. They are the real heroes in this story.”

Berman noted that the organization did not make the vaccine mandate decision lightly. “Simply put, implementing this mandate is the only way we can fully protect our staff and our residents. I absolutely believe it’s the right decision for us.”