Tag Archives: CMS vaccine mandate

Updated Deadlines for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers

Contributed by Suzannah Overholt, January 17, 2022

Filling syringe with medicine from vial, closeup

On January 14, CMS issued guidance regarding when the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers will be enforced in the 24 states affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling issued the previous day. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

By February 15, 2022, covered facilities must demonstrate that:

  • Policies and procedures are developed and implemented for ensuring all facility staff, regardless of clinical responsibility or patient or resident contact, are vaccinated; and
  • 100% of staff have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or have requested or been granted an exemption from vaccination. (If less than 100% of all staff meet this requirement, the facility is non-compliant.)

By March 15, 2022, covered facilities must demonstrate that 100% of staff have received the necessary doses to complete the vaccine series (i.e., one dose of a single-dose vaccine or all doses of a multiple-dose vaccine series), or been granted an exemption from vaccination. (If less than 100% of all staff meet this requirement, the facility is non-compliant.) 

Facilities failing to maintain compliance with the 100% standard on and after April 14, 2022, may be subject to enforcement action. Surveyors will begin monitoring for compliance on February 15, 2022. We discussed additional details of the vaccine mandate in our previous post on the topic.

CMS also issued guidance specific to each type of facility covered by the vaccine mandate.   

Note that on December 28, 2021, CMS issued guidance regarding the effective dates for the other states (excluding Texas), which are January 27, 2022 (first round of vaccine), and February 26, 2022 (full vaccination). 

All facilities covered by the CMS vaccine mandate for health care workers should be working to implement their vaccination and exemption policies and getting their staff vaccinated so they are in compliance with the relevant deadlines. We will continue to provide updates on this important issue.

CMS Health Care Vaccine Mandate Allowed by U.S. Supreme Court

Contributed by Suzannah Overholt, January 13, 2022

Ending months of uncertainty, today the Supreme Court issued its decision allowing CMS to enforce its vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The Court’s decision stays the injunctions entered by federal courts in Missouri and Louisiana. CMS may now enforce the rule nationwide. Before today’s decision, the CMS rule could only be enforced in 26 states. 

As a refresher on what the CMS rule requires, see our previous summary of the rule. Further guidance should be issued by CMS before compliance is required. We will continue to keep you updated.

In another opinion issued today, the Court decided that OSHA’s “shot or test” rule for large employers may not be enforced. Read more about this decision on our blog.

CMS Vaccine Mandate – On Again (Sort Of)?

Contributed by Suzannah Wilson Overholt, December 16, 2021

syringe and vial bottle with covid 19 vaccine

In the ongoing saga of the federal government’s attempts to impose vaccine mandates on certain sectors, on Wednesday, December 15, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit concluded that the nationwide injunction issued by a Louisiana District Court was overbroad and could only apply to the 14 states that were plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The court stayed the injunction for the 26 states that were not parties to the lawsuit before it or covered by the 10-state injunction issued by the Eastern District of Missouri on November 29. Therefore, the CMS vaccine mandate for healthcare workers is now enjoined in 24 states but could be enforced in 26 states. 

What this means is that the CMS mandate IS NOT in effect for the following 24 states: 

  • Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire (due to injunction issued in Missouri); and
  • Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio (due to Fifth Circuit opinion).

The 26 states in which the CMS mandate could be enforced are as follows:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

What remains to be seen is when (or whether) CMS will now enforce the mandate in these 26 states. On December 2, CMS instructed state surveyors not to survey providers for compliance with the CMS vaccine mandate requirements, which equated to not enforcing the mandate.  CMS will now need to change its instructions for enforcement efforts to begin – and that has not occurred yet.

Because of the ongoing uncertainty, entities covered by the CMS mandate should continue to be ready to comply with it. However, further guidance should be issued by CMS before compliance is required. We will continue to keep you updated.