A Forsyth dentist has resigned from the Monroe County Hospital Authority in part due to the hospital’s vaccine mandate for employees.

Dr. Stan Hickman submitted his resignation to chairman Mac Brown last week. Already a member of the Downtown Development Authority and president of the Mary Persons Touchdown Club, Hickman said he had been thinking about resigning for a few months because he was too busy. The authority had voted in the summer not to require employees to get the COVID vaccine. When the Biden administration mandated vaccines anyway, Hickman said that was kind of a final straw.

While the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has put a stay on Biden’s vaccine mandate for employers, Biden is also mandating health providers require employees to get the vaccine as a condition for receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds. Hospital CEO Lorraine Smith said that since most of the hospital funding comes from Medicare, they couldn’t resist.

“We delayed it as long as we could,” said Smith. “We have to comply as a condition to get Medicare funding.”

Smith said the hospital must have all employees fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. She said there’s already been a lot of employee turnover as healthcare has been in tumult, and said they’ve lost some nurses to agencies offering them good money to travel.

On a brighter note, Smith said COVID cases are way down at the hospital from the summer peak.

Chairman Mac Brown said Hickman was a good board member and will be missed.