President Biden’s national strategy to “vaccinate the unvaccinated” includes new vaccination requirements for health care workers

By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD

Last week, Campanella Law Office addressed President Biden’s intention to use regulatory powers to increase the number of American’s subject to vaccine requirements as it related to businesses.  However, the President’s six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy to battle COVID-19, also implicates more than 17 million heath care workers throughout the country.  In an effort to slow the spread of the virus in health care settings, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) shall cooperate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement emergency regulations requiring healthcare workers in most settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement to get vaccinated.

The action is meant to create a consistent national standard and protect both providers and patients from COVID-19 and, specifically, the highly contagious Delta variant.  The requirement will apply to approximately 50,000 providers including, but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies.  The mandate will also extend existing requirements for nursing facilities to include clinical staff, volunteers, individuals providing arranged services, and staff who are not involved in direct patient, resident, or client care.

According to the CMS, data show a clear correlation between higher vaccination rates among providers and staff, and lower infection rates among patents in their care.  While some facilities and states have begun to adopt staff vaccination mandates, the CMS cautions that all facilities should begin efforts to get health care staff vaccinated and boost immune confidence through employee education.

The CMS’ Interim Final Rule is anticipated to be issued in October, with comment period .  If you have any questions or concerns related the new rule and your health care facility, Contact Us.

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