CMS to require COVID-19 vaccination of staff at healthcare facilities

Sept. 10, 2021

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to require staff at healthcare facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the agency announced.

The emergency regulation expands on an earlier rule that requires staff at nursing homes to be vaccinated. The regulations now will also apply to employees at hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies, among others.

Facilities that do not comply could lose reimbursement for services they provide to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

In addition to healthcare employees, President Joe Biden said that the federal government also will require businesses with more than 100 employees to ensure that their employees are vaccinated or participate in weekly testing for COVID-19, according to The Washington Post. Employees of the federal government also will be required to be vaccinated, but they will not have the option of weekly testing, the newspaper reported.

Speaking about employees in the healthcare sector, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “There is no question that staff, across any healthcare setting, who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health. Ensuring safety and access to all patients, regardless of their entry point into the healthcare system, is essential.”

CMS said it is developing an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period that will be issued in October.

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