Ascension Providence Hospital in Novi, Michigan has denied religious exemptions to approximately 650 employees for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Ascension was founded as a nonprofit Catholic system and is one of the largest private healthcare systems in the country ranking second in the United States by number of hospitals in 2019.

Ascension requires all associates to be vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they provide direct patient care, and whether they work at their sites of care or remotely. Ascension says on its website that it will provide its associates a process for requesting an exemption similar to the process they use for the annual influenza vaccine.

Ascension will require that all associates be vaccinated against COVID-19, whether or not they provide direct patient care, and whether they work in our sites of care or remotely. This includes associates employed by subsidiaries and partners; physicians and advanced practice providers, whether employed or independent; and volunteers and vendors entering Ascension facilities.

Our timeline for completing the vaccine series and meeting this requirement will be Nov. 12, 2021. This timing is aligned with Ascension’s annual influenza vaccination requirement and we will follow a similar implementation process. In those instances when someone may not be able to get vaccinated due to a medical condition or strongly held religious belief, Ascension will provide its associates a process for requesting an exemption similar to the process we use for the annual influenza vaccine. In addition, this requirement will be implemented in accordance with collective bargaining agreements reached between Ascension business entities and unions representing our associates.

 Here’s an excerpt from the email:

I am a current employee of an Ascension hospital in Novi MI. It is a Catholic hospital system. Myself and many others have submitted religious exemptions for the Covid vaccine. I am on a message board with approximately 650 other Ascension employees who have requested mostly religious exemptions and no one has been granted one (including me). No one! I have heard that some employees of Henry Ford (non-Catholic hospital) and Beaumont hospital have been granted some religious exemptions. For Ascension to call themselves a Catholic institution, accept the submission of religious exemptions, then to reject ALL of them, is simply unacceptable. I’d like to bring light to this situation. Please help me.

Link to ascension healthcare:

https://healthcare.ascension.org/

Here’s a screenshot of the denial response to religious exemptions:

Also, this is what you had to agree to in order to submit your request.

I also understand that should I fail to be immunized or granted an exemption, I will have through 5:00 p.m.
November 12, 2021, to comply with the policy. I understand that should I fail to be vaccinated or granted an exemption on or before 5:00 p.m. on November 12, 2021, I will be suspended pending further investigation in accordance with the Associate Coaching, Counseling and Corrective Action Guidelines. Continued failure to comply will be deemed voluntary resignation. For non-employed individuals, ongoing failure to comply may result in removal from the premises and/or cessation of services.

UPDATE– This is not just happening in Michigan.
From a TGP reader:

I read your story about religious exemptions to covid vaccine mandates being denied to employees of Ascension Hospitals in Michigan. I can confirm that this is true and not limited to Michigan. I work for an Ascension Hospital in the Indianapolis area and had my religious exemption denied with an email that was verbatim to the one you published. I’ve also talked with close friends and relatives who have applied for religious exemptions from Ascension and every last one has been denied with an identical email. It appears that Ascension seems to be categorically denying religious exemptions nationwide.

 

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