Lake Regional Hospital - Entrance Sign

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — Lake Regional Health System, the largest healthcare provider and one of the largest employers at Lake of the Ozarks, has paused its Covid-19 vaccine requirement.

A spokesperson for the health system confirmed on Monday evening, Nov. 29, that Lake Regional had acted in response to a federal judge's Monday decision to issue a stay on the implementation of the mandate that affects most healthcare workers.

"Because of the preliminary injunction, Lake Regional notified employees today that we will pause the COVID-19 vaccination requirement until a final determination is made by the courts or Congress," said Jennifer Bethurem, Lake Regional's Vice President of Public Relations.

On Nov. 10, 2021, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt led a coalition of 10 states in filing a lawsuit to halt the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ vaccine mandate on healthcare workers, the first states to file suit. On Monday, Nov 30, the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, issued a preliminary injunction halting the Biden Administration from enforcing its vaccine mandate on healthcare workers in the states that joined Missouri’s coalition.

The specific mandate was one issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an unelected federal agency of the executive branch that had declared all healthcare providers serving Medicare or Medicaid recipients must enforce a Covid vaccine mandate and have all employees fully vaccinated by Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022—with some allowance for medical and religious exemptions.

"Noncompliance would put our entire organization, about 1,500 jobs, in jeopardy," outgoing Lake Regional CEO Dane Henry had written in an all-staff email.

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has also filed suit to halt OSHA’s vaccine mandate on private employers and the vaccine mandate on federal contractors, both of which are awaiting court rulings.