Who runs Novant Health? NC healthcare system fires 175 workers for refusing vaccines
Firing reportedly largest layoff over vaccines to date, the company offered a five-day extension which led 200 employees to get jabbed
A North Carolina-based healthcare system has resorted to one of the largest ever mass firings to date over vaccinations after 175 employees refused to comply with its vaccine mandate. In late July, Novant Health said all employees had until September 15 to comply with the mandate. Reportedly, 175 of its 35,000+ workforce have not been jabbed yet, and have now lost their jobs.
Vaccine mandates have become a highly contested issue all over the US. The Biden administration introduced a mandate for all federal employees, and companies with over 100 employees, but it hasn't exactly gone to plan. On September 17, we reported on one Kentucky healthcare employee who refused to leave her workplace after being fired for not getting jabbed. One Florida bar owner also refused to comply, saying "God told me not to take this vaccine."
Despite being on the frontlines of the pandemic for over a year, a large number of healthcare workers have refused to comply with vaccine mandates. Reports are emerging all over the country of workers, who have seen the dangers of Covid firsthand, arguing against vaccines and masks, and for unproven treatments like Ivermectin. Novant Health decided it wasn't having any of that, and promptly fired all those who refused to do the right thing.
Who runs Novant Health?
Based in North Carolina, Novant has over 35,000 employees in 15 hospitals and 800 clinics across four states. The company's current CEO and President is Carl S. Armato, who has been with Novant for well over two decades. An alma mater of the University of Southwestern Louisiana and the Norwich University of Vermont, Armato joined Novant in 1998. He has been the CEO since 2012.
It's unclear if Armato was directly responsible for the mandate since he's not spoken about it in public. Instead, the person pushing the mandate in the media appears to be David Priest, Novant's SVP of Safety, Quality, and Epidemiology. Priest's LinkedIn profile says he has been in that role since November 2018, after working his way up since joining Novant in 2015. Priest graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.Sc and MD and went on to pursue a fellowship at Vanderbilt Medical Center.
Having worked as a physician in Virginia and North Carolina, Priest is licensed both in internal medicine and infectious disease. He defended Nonvant's decision, telling WFMY News 2, "680,000 Americans who have died and we cannot contribute to that number." But how did the company end up here? It seems like it was unavoidable, given that employees were given adequate time and warnings.
Novant's vaccine mandate
Back in early July, the company announced that all employees must be vaccinated to continue working. Those granted religious or medical exemptions would need to undergo weekly testing, while mandatorily masking up, the company said. On September 21, it noted that around 375 team members were non-complaint, and were put on unpaid suspension. Novant offered those employees a five-day extension to get at least one jab, which 200 employees took advantage of.
By September 28 though, the company noted that 175 employees had still not gotten the jab, and proceeded to fire them. Speaking to Fox News, Priest dismissed critics of vaccine mandates, saying, "Social media has a way of amplifying those voices." He added, "The number one medical ethical principle is we do not cause harm to patients or certainly cause their death. It comes certainly before anything else. It comes before my personal choice."
It doesn't appear as if the move will affect the company's staffing system. "We can move team members to other parts of the organization. We are always hiring new team members," Priest noted. Those that got jabbed after September 21 will have until October 15 to get their second dose, or else face being fired, the company warned. Novant isn't the first company to fire employees over vaccines. On September 21, New York-based Northwell Health fired about two dozen people, and Houston Methodist fired more than 150 healthcare workers back in June.