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Supreme Court's vaccine mandate ruling has little impact in Indianapolis hospitals

The three main hospital systems in Indianapolis are sticking by vaccine mandates for their employees.

INDIANAPOLIS — Thursday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to block part of a federal mandate requiring employees of large private companies get vaccinated or get tested regularly doesn't make a difference for many health care workers in Indiana.

This past year, all three hospital systems in Indianapolis put vaccine mandates in place for their employees and those mandates stand, even after the court's ruling.

In June, IU Health announced workers had until Sept. 1 to be fully vaccinated and could apply for an exemption based on religious or medical reasons. The move brought some protests and petitions.

RELATED: Eskenazi, Indianapolis EMS, Marion County Public Health Department employees required to be vaccinated by Monday

By the time the deadline arrived, IU Health said 125 employees, including 61 full-time workers, left because of the mandate.

Community Health issued the same directive. As of this past September, 99.6 percent of employees in their network were either vaccinated or had an exemption.

Eskenazi Health's mandate deadline hit Sept. 20, with 39 employees deciding not to get the vaccine.

RELATED: Indy nurses say they're out of a job because of vaccine mandates

The Indiana Hospital Association issued a statement after Thursday's decision, emphasizing the importance of the vaccine in protecting health care workers and patients and said the ruling gives them "a clear path forward as Indiana hospitals battle the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on record."

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, also weighed in after voting last month to overturn the mandate, calling it "unconstitutional and wrong." He said Thursday's ruling is a "win for the liberties and livelihoods of millions of Americans."

Sen. Braun's full statement

“President Biden’s vaccine mandate for private employees is unconstitutional and wrong. I was proud to lead the vote to overturn this illegal mandate in the Senate, and the Supreme Court blocking this mandate is a win for the liberties and livelihoods of millions of Americans.”

Indiana Hospital Association President Brian Tabor's full statement

“Health care workers are consistently at risk of exposure to deadly diseases like COVID-19, and vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect patients and staff, and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in facilities and in the community. The Indiana Hospital Association is committed to assisting all hospitals in their implementation efforts to comply with the CMS rule requiring health care workers to be vaccinated, honoring religious protections and exemptions for certain medical conditions. We look forward to further guidance from CMS in the coming weeks and are hopeful today’s ruling gives us a clear path forward as Indiana hospitals battle the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations on record.”