On May 31, 2023, CMS issued a final rule (Final Rule) repealing COVID-19 vaccination requirements for staff and testing requirements for staff and patients of long-term care (LTC) facilities. These were previously required for LTC facilities to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. According to CMS, the agency “aims to use quality reporting and value-based incentive programs to encourage health care facilities to practice preventative measures against COVID-19” going forward. The Final Rule also establishes requirements for LTCs to provide education about COVID-19 vaccines and to offer vaccines to residents, clients, and staff.
Regulations regarding COVID-19 testing, education, and vaccination mandates were established through the issuance of a series of interim and final rules published by HHS between September 2, 2020, and November 5, 2021. Provisions of these interim and final rules expired with the end of the public health emergency on May 11, 2023.
The Final Rule is effective on August 4, 2023, which is sixty days after publication in the Federal Register. The Final Rule, as published in the Federal Register on June 5, 2023, is available here.