Healthcare workers at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center in Palmer have until March 15 to complete their “primary vaccination series” for Covid. The only exceptions are for those who have been granted an exemption.

In the meantime, employees who are not “fully vaccinated,” as well as those granted exemptions, must adhere to strict physical distancing measures, take weekly Covid tests, and wear restrictive N95 masks throughout their shifts. These measures are mandated regardless of whether employees provide direct care or interact with patients.

These new rules were sent to employees last week, as the hospital attempts to adhere to federal vax mandates for health care facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The rules stipulate that unvaxxed employees must also social distance even in “areas that are restricted from patient access,” such as staff meeting rooms and the employee kitchen.

A nurse from Mat-Su Regional notified the Watchman about the updated rules, and provided a copy of them.

“I don’t think most people are aware that we have been required to come in on our own time for every-other-week Covid testing regardless of symptoms for the past several months,” she said. “This next week, those guidelines are changing to weekly testing, and also the addition of N95 use during your entire shift.”

The nurse said the hospital is “only requiring the unvaccinated to comply with these measures.”

The new mandates are being enforced despite widespread transmission of the Omicron variant among vaxxed and unvaxxed alike, and a lack of scientific data showing that masks, distancing and testing can slow the spread of new and emerging Covid variants.

The nurse said it was “punitive to require unvaccinated, non-symptomatic employees (with a negative Covid test) to wear a restrictive N95 for 12+ hours regardless of whether they are providing direct patient care or not. These are measures designed to force compliance with vaccination.”

The nurse reached out to the Alaska Watchman in order to let the public know how local healthcare providers are being treated in the Mat-Su hospital.

“I request that my name be left out of any reporting as I’m worried about retaliation and losing my job,” she said. “I know a lot of my coworkers are in the same predicament and I hope that in raising awareness maybe we can facilitate some support to fight these non-evidence-based requirements.”

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued new guidance on its healthcare worker vaccine mandate after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the mandate to be enforced while several states challenge it in court.

According to the latest guidance from CMS, facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid in 24 states must ensure that their employees have at least one dose of the Covid shot by Feb. 14, and are deemed fully vaxxed by March 15.

The new deadlines apply to 24 states, including Alaska.

Failure to adhere to the mandate can result in a healthcare facility being terminated from the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

Mat-Su nurse blasts ‘punitive’ policies for employees who decline the vax

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    When are the people going to start to fight back. Liberals have BLM and ANIFTA. How about we start a group to fight the stupidity? There are laws in our FREE country. How about law enforcement starts enforcing them.

  • Jeff says:

    “ after the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the mandate to be enforced”
    Thanks a lot Brett Kavanaugh.

  • A. N. Gottschalk says:

    The U. S. Supreme Court has ruled on the general matter! The whiner is not being held hostage at the hospital, so what’s the real rub?

    • AKY says:

      ‘The little whiner’ is being held hostage to a job by the demented Resident in the White House. Get your facts straight: Roberts and Kavanaugh let the useless medical mandates stand. Some of us still need a job as our dollars shrink to Bidenflation

      • A. N. Gottschalk says:

        Ain’t that a likely excuse! If she refuses to meet the requirements to continue working at the hospital she can move on. It’s not as if she can’t “learn” to serve fast foods or sweep floors! Quit hyping “victimhood!” She is just another anonymous, self-righteous loser!

      • Elizabeth Henry says:

        And I suppose you think vaccinated people are not getting Covid? Whether you are vaccinated or not you can get Covid, and you can transmit Covid. The efficacy has been diminishing with each new variant. The hospital is using a double standard. What kind of ‘protection’ is that? The unvaccinated have to follow a testing and masking protocol while the unvaccinated do not, yet both are susceptible to contracting and transmitting. The employees that are least likely to contract Covid are those that have already had it! But if they are not vaccinated they still have to abide by the same protocol. The vaccinated are a bigger risk than those that have natural immunity yet the vaccinated still don’t have to mask or test. Ludicrous. Get your facts straight and read the article.

    • Linda says:

      And someday you will be complaining because of the shortage of nurses… ! And trust me…YOU WILL NEED ONE! Even in the Psych ward! Boo hoo!!

      • jeri Rosenthal says:

        Amen sister, I am a retired RN and I stand against all these forced mandates for a virus that has over a 99.5 recovery rate.
        This is a choice of personal freedom and if one decided to take the vaccine they should be protected (or why take them), so then why force employees who have no symptoms into a choice they are against? This goes against critical thinking ….

  • Michael C Coons says:

    I was assured by the CEO of Matsu Regional that any and all religious exemption requests would be granted. If that still is the case, I would “assume” that would include medical exemptions. This was prior to the SCOTUS hearing/results.
    I would like to know if that promise has now been pulled back.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    It’s all bull crap, these doctors and nurses need to follow what the truckers are doing, Stand together and walk out
    No health care, until all this madness stop’s

  • Andy says:

    Here’s the problem: Democrats. Has been, currently is and always will be.

    • A. N. Gottschalk says:

      Thats another trait of “loser-hood.” It’s always somebody else who is the problem. Give thinking a whirl, you might enjoy it! That advise goes for all people regardless of their empty politics. But, who knows, eh? There may be joy waiting in line to be handed “pre-packaged” solutions for the problems of life!

      • Meister says:

        Your words have revealed the bitterness of your soul and intolerance for any opinion that differs from yours. Authoritarianism and canceling over 50% of Americans who love our country, the Constitution and freedom will only make the divide worse. Health decisions belong to the individual. Time will reveal the results.

      • PS says:

        Liberals eat their own! Your turn is coming!

      • Andy says:

        Looks like I hit a nerve, lol.

    • jh says:

      Maybe a retired brick and flame thrower?

      • jh says:

        my comment was directed to A.N. Gottschalk

      • A. N. Gottschalk says:

        You have already established yourself as a dame; as such, I’ll be more respectful toward you–yes, in all sincerity! Technically, I am neither a brick nor a flame thrower. You, however, have shown that you can pitch a fast “molotov cocktail!” The so-called “conservative” blokes–those calling themselves “Patriots” and “Oath Keepers,” those who would march for Putin on a moment’s notice–can’t match your skill. And they’ve shown every indication that they are incapable of taking their minds off of themselves. Why, with a kilo of good weed and several gallons of red wine, I’d be able to organize them into a real “populist” movement from anywhere in the “valley.” But guys by nature are blowhards at best! If they believed just a fraction of what they tell themselves, they would be doing more and complaining less.

        I doff my hat to you for being so “generous” in “sharing” your thoughts even though I have yet to agree with any of them! Maybe you ought to run for office: it ain’t just a guy’s world! Why, in fact, here in America the fellas are willing to give the country away, peddle it off, or squander its resources on half-baked ideas! And since they wouldn’t own up to being what they are, they yet have the gall to bad mouth poor ol’ Marx! And why not–he’s dead!

        Having said that, I’ve got to make another flight or two around the sun and finish up a project that I started before the pandemic hit. I’ll check in now and then to see if any of the “conservative” eggheads have made any meaningful progress! In the mean time, don’t be afraid to toss a “molotov cocktail” or two into their midst to get them thinking and off their asses!

  • JH says:

    And milquetoast Mike will remain silent. I can confirm these same punitive policies are in place at Fairbanks Memorial.

  • DD says:

    When medical staff are standing up for their own medical rights, that should be a sign to all the blind people there is something medically amiss in what is being requested by government. We do live in America where we have freedom! So make your choice to be vaccinated or not AND in the near future, the ones left sane and alive will see the final results of this experiment! And yes it is still listed as experimental vaccine that is being given! I support this nurse and all medical who are standing up for their health rights and others! And name calling is a sure sign of immaturity!

  • david Boyle says:

    Just wait until the US Dept of Ed mandates vaccinations and masks for all employees and students in K12. Will the school districts forgo their federal dollars? NOT.

  • Jen says:

    Well! The hospitals are private enough it can always refuse medicare and medicaid which will set up another situation. At best the health employers aren’t under the hammer and sickle doing what the government demands. The government does have its right making its demands just like we the people don’t have to accept its money.

    • Jen says:

      We the people don’t accept its money assistance for self and relatives. Then we have freedom and the government has to bargain with its people instead of us bargaining with the government. The government bought us when allowed self and family to recieve such assistance. So much so we see 7th generation sold and dependent upon government assistance as slaves.

    • Michael Hughes says:

      We, the people, are the government; at least we are supposed to be.

  • jh says:

    A little off the subject- We all know the radical lunatic Leftist Democrats support “Soft on Crime”. But it only applies to looters, arsonists, assaulters, murderers, and attackers of the police. Hey lunatic leftist SICK democrats, please explain why “Soft on Crime “doesn’t apply to Trump supporters who have stayed in jail in solitary for several months without charges or representation then suffer disproportionate sentences for trespassing and political re-education????? These people are SICK!

  • jh says:

    Bronze Statute
    A guy is visiting San Francisco, and walks into a small store in Chinatown.
    He notices a small bronze statue of a rat.
    He asks the owner “how much”, and the owner replies “$50 for the bronze rat, and $1000 for the story behind it.”
    The guy says, “forget the story”, and buys the rat.
    As he’s walking down the street he notices two live rats following him. As he continues to walk, more rats start following him.
    He starts to get a little concerned, and heads for the waterfront. By the time he gets there there are thousands and thousands of rats following him.
    He walks up to the end of the pier and throws the bronze rat into the bay, and the rats all follow and leap off of the pier and drown.
    The guy rushes back to the store and walks in. The owner says, “Ah!, so your back for the story”.
    The guys says, “No, I was wondering if you have any bronze liberals?”