William L. Harp, M.D.
Board of Medicine
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233
Re: Comment on Petition for Rulemaking: Prohibition of Requirement for Mask Wearing, Receipt of Vaccines, and Disclosure of Vaccine Status to Receive Medical Care
Dear Dr. Harp,
On behalf of the Commonwealth’s physicians, PAs, residents, and medical students, the Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) respectfully opposes Petition 362. The petitioner’s request would prohibit requirements for mask wearing, receipt of vaccines, or disclosure of vaccine status—jeopardizing the health and wellness of Virginia’s providers and patients.
The decision to maintain masking in healthcare settings by the CDC is evidence-based and in the best interest of the patient and the healthcare team. Healthcare settings should continue to abide by CDC guidelines. Similarly, the healthcare community strongly encourages all individuals to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Physician practices, like any other business in the Commonwealth, have the autonomy to do what is best for their business and staff. The petition's ask would limit that freedom. When the mask mandate is lifted for healthcare settings, physician offices will continue to have the right to require patients seeking care in their space to wear a mask or be vaccinated -- the choice is theirs to either implement or not.
As an organization of healthcare providers, the MSV is supportive of measures that aim to protect Virginians from serious illness, reduce the rate of hospitalizations, and ease the overall burden on our healthcare system. We, therefore, respectfully ask you reject the petitioner’s request.
Assistant Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy
The Medical Society of Virginia