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Wisconsin health systems mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees

The American Hospital Association and more than 50 other groups have called for employers to require workers in health care and long-term care facilities to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ascension Wisconsin said Tuesday that it will require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Nov.12, becoming the third large health system in Wisconsin to impose the mandate.

SSM Health on June 28 and Mayo Clinic Health System on Monday announced that employees, excluding exemptions for medical or religious reasons, would be required to be vaccinated.

Ascension said the requirement will apply to all employees, excluding those medical or religious exemptions, whether they work at its hospitals and clinics or remotely.

It also will apply to people employed by subsidiaries and contractors, independent physicians and other health care providers not employed by the health system, volunteers and vendors entering its buildings.

The health system will have 13,000 employees and 17 hospitals in Wisconsin after seven hospitals are sold to Aspirus on Aug. 1. Nationally, Ascension Health has 160,000 employees.