Chugach Electric Employees Don’t Agree with Covid Mandate
Chugach Electric Executive Management, Pandemic Response Team, & Matthew Clarkson:
We, the employees, appreciate our jobs. We are thankful for the opportunities that this utility provides to us to be able to provide for our families. However, we do not agree with your decision to place a vaccine mandate on us, hiding behind a federal mandate that has been challenged multiple times in court and has been terminated more times than not.
It is not Chugach’s duty to pry into the employee’s medical background in the name of “safety” under an emergency order, for a disease that people survive 99% of the time. It is not Chugach’s business to know if employees are vaccinated or not vaccinated, especially with a vaccine that is still experimental. Comirnaty, the FDA fully approved Pfizer vaccine is still not available in Alaska. The importance of receiving Comirnaty as opposed to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine means people have more legal rights and legal representation if any adverse effects arise because of the vaccine. We don’t have those same protections under an experimental vaccines such as the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna mRNA, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines which are currently available. Regardless, it is not Chugach’s business.
It was not a condition of employment to provide medical history when we were hired, and past practice has not treated the common cold coronavirus or influenza coronavirus like Chugach is treating this covid-19 coronavirus. We have been praised for the way we have handled this over the last 22 months, we have been patient, and we will continue to be diligent. Vaccinated and unvaccinated people can still catch covid-19 and spread it. It is discrimination to treat employees differently based on vaccination status and we do not agree with this new Operating Policy 045 regarding vaccination or testing.
We have the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) for a reason.
• Privacy Rule (45 CFR §164.530)
The Privacy Rule protects the Protected Health Information (PHI) and medical records of individuals, with limits and conditions on the various uses and disclosures that can and cannot be made without patient authorization. This rule also gives every patient the right to inspect and obtain a copy of their records and request corrections to their file. There are specific forms that coincide with this rule: Request of Access to Protected Health Information (PHI); Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP) Form; Request for Accounting Disclosures Form; Request for Restriction of Patient Health Care Information; Authorization for Use or Disclosure Form; and the Privacy Complaint Form.
• Security Rule (45 CFR §164.308)
The security rule defines and regulates the standards, methods and procedures related to the protection of electronic PHI on storage, accessibility and transmission. There are three safeguard levels of security. The Administrative safeguards deal with the assignment of a HIPAA security compliance team; the Technical safeguards deal with the encryption and authentication methods used to have control over data access, and the Physical safeguards deal with the protection of any electronic system, data or equipment within your facility and organization. The risk analysis and risk management protocols for hardware, software and transmission fall under this rule.
We also have the Nuremberg Code (1947) which states:
1. The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision. This latter element requires that before the acceptance of an affirmative decision by the experimental subject there should be made known to him the nature, duration, and purpose of the experiment; the method and means by which it is to be conducted; all inconveniences and hazards reasonably to be expected; and the effects upon his health or person which may possibly come from his participation in the experiment.
The duty and responsibility for ascertaining the quality of the consent rests upon each individual who initiates, directs, or engages in the experiment. It is a personal duty and responsibility which may not be delegated to another with impunity.
2. The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.
3. The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results justify the performance of the experiment.
4. The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.
5. No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.
6. The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.
7. Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability or death.
8. The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.
9. During the course of the experiment the human subject should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end if he has reached the physical or mental state where continuation of the experiment seems to him to be impossible.
10. During the course of the experiment the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgment required of him, that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject.
Chugach Electric is an electric utility, not a healthcare facility. We would appreciate if management would respect the employee’s request and abandon Operating Policy 045.