Vaccine Mandate Update 01-14-22: What it Means for Employers
Author: Brianna Plencner, CPC, CPMA Senior Consultant & Manager, Practice Development, HCCI
On January 13, 2022, the U.S Supreme Court released two per Curiam opinions regarding CMS and OSHA’s vaccination and testing requirements.
First, the Court decided to allow CMS to implement its vaccination and testing requirements as described below in this article. The Court found that CMS had the authority to mandate as a condition of participation in the Medicare or Medicaid program that providers be vaccinated or follow the prescribed testing requirements. The Court reasoned, “ensuring that providers take steps to avoid transmitting a dangerous virus to their patients is consistent with the fundamental principle of the medical profession.
This means the CMS regulation will now be enforceable in all 50 states. CMS will begin enforcement of the mandate on January 27th, 2022, for compliance with the first round of vaccine shots and then on February 28th for the second round.
However, regarding the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), the Court ruled this was not within OSHA’s authority; therefore, the requirements for employers with more than 100 employees will not be permitted and no longer apply.
Reference: CMS December 28th Guidance: Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination
The new compliance deadlines above apply to the 24 states previously covered by a preliminary injunction. CMS is already enforcing and surveying these requirements in all other states and territories. Since this rule is geared towards “facilities,” there is debate on whether it will be extended to individual outpatient practices that provide care outside of facility settings. Consult with your legal counsel as you implement policies, but this rule does apply to home health and hospice agencies.