Clearwater & Sarasota – Empath Health has announced a policy that requires colleagues, volunteers and vendors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The full life care provider serving Tampa Bay and southwest Florida provides care and support for those with chronic and advanced illnesses and/or those dealing with grief. Suncoast Hospice and Tidewell Hospice are members of the Empath Health family of companies.

As a community health organization, Empath Health’s highest priority is to protect the health and safety of our clients, colleagues, volunteers and communities. Empath Health is deeply committed to the promotion of and participation in public health and safety. Vaccines play a vital role in public health and safety, and the COVID-19 vaccine continues to demonstrate efficacy protecting individual health and limiting the spread of COVID-19.

The vaccine policy is an initiative of Empath Health senior leadership in consultation with the organization’s clinical experts and with endorsement from the board of directors.

“The medical evidence tells us that vaccination for COVID-19 is safe and effective. Since protecting our colleagues and patients is always our prime concern, requiring the vaccine for all our colleagues, volunteers, students and vendors is absolutely the right thing to do. I have no doubt that these actions will help save many people from illness and death and will help the overall health of the communities that we serve every day,” said Nevile Sarkari, MD, FACP, Tidewell Hospice Chief Medical Officer.

In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Empath Health’s vaccine policy requires all colleagues and volunteers become vaccinated against COVID-19 and support vaccination for all patients who qualify. All colleagues and volunteers must comply with the vaccination requirement and present proof of full vaccination status (two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) by November 1, 2021. In addition, vendors who interact with clients, colleagues or volunteers must also comply with the policy.

Empath Health will consider individual exemptions to the vaccine requirement on a case-by-case basis relating to religious beliefs or medical concerns. Colleagues and volunteers granted exceptions may be subject to additional masking requirements and ongoing COVID-19 testing.


About Empath Health

Empath Health is the country’s largest not-for-profit health system delivering non-acute care and services through its skilled, medical and holistic programs to individuals with chronic, advanced and terminal illnesses and those experiencing grief. We were created in 2021 through the merger of two leading nonprofit, integrated networks of care: Empath Health, serving the Tampa Bay region and Stratum Health System, serving Southwest Florida. The Empath Health integrated network of care provides expert medical, counseling and support services including hospice; home health; palliative care; grief services; all-inclusive elder care; HIV/STI prevention, services and support; primary care; and physician services. Empath Health serves more than 7,000 people a day, creating a bridge between chronic, advanced and terminal care and providing seamless integration based on individual needs. Collectively, we have nearly 90 years of experience serving individuals during some of their most vulnerable times. Our wide variety of community-based programs reflects our commitment to the preservation of our charitable mission.