Some Minnesota health care facilities not requiring vaccine to acquire staff amid shortage

"We're starting to get nurses applying because of these hospitals mandating the vaccine," one employer who does not require the vaccine told Alpha News.

(Unsplash/Towfiqu Barbhuiya)
Unsplash/Towfiqu Barbhuiya

While many health care facilities are firing their unvaccinated employees amid a nationwide staffing shortage, some Minnesota companies are taking the opposite approach.

President Joe Biden announced earlier this month that all employers with over 100 employees will be required to institute a company-wide vaccine mandate or face massive recurring fines. Meanwhile, hospitals around the nation are facing nursing shortages that frontline workers say will only be made worse by the Biden mandate as unvaccinated nurses and other professionals are forced out of hospitals. The state government of New York, a nurse in Florida, a hospital CEO in Missouri, and 45% of all nursing homes report critical concern about how the vaccine mandate will impact the already-dwindling ranks of health care workers.

However, some companies are bucking the mandate, retaining their unvaccinated workers and even offering to hire new unvaccinated employees.

“We could hire 20 more nurses today and still not be full,” Todd Johnston, part owner of All About Caring Home Care, told Alpha News. Based in Rush City, Minnesota, All About Caring has been in business for 17 years and presently maintains about 150 employees ranging from registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, private duty nurses and personal care attendants.

The company will not fire its unvaccinated staff who request religious or medical exemptions and is willing to bring in new manpower that hasn’t received the shot. “I do not want anybody to put anything in their body they do not want,” Liz Johnston, another part owner of the company, said at a recent town hall hosted by state Rep. Erik Mortensen.

In addition to being based in company leadership’s personal convictions, this stance also aids them in overcoming the worker shortage.

“We’re starting to get nurses applying because of these hospitals mandating the vaccine, like Fairview and Allina,” Todd Johnston told Alpha News.

He also said that his business hasn’t received any official communication from the government regarding the impending enforcement of the vaccine mandate.

“I’ve only heard what I’ve seen on the news,” he said.

Carefree Cottages in Maplewood, Minnesota, has adopted a similar stance regarding vaccines. In mid-September, it posted a job opportunity that listed “no vaccine requirement” as a benefit of employment — earning the company a hit piece published by KARE 11 last week. After receiving negative media attention, Carefree Cottages altered the language of its listing to read “vaccines are supported, however vaccines are not mandated in the assisted living setting,” KARE 11 reports.

These two companies aren’t alone. Nebraska’s veterans affairs agency recently offered to hire a nurse, listing “no mandated COVID-19 vaccination” as one of the “many great benefits” of the position, according to CBS News.

Medscape, a publication for doctors and other health care professionals, reports that this recruiting tactic is on the rise — noting that a lack of a vaccine mandate has become a “competitive advantage” in the “hospital staffing wars.”


Kyle Hooten

Kyle Hooten is Managing Editor of Alpha News. His coverage of Minneapolis has been featured on television shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight and in print media outlets like the Wall Street Journal.