In the latest update to the fight surrounding vaccination of health care workers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced that it suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of its Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Rule (“CMS Vaccine Requirement”) as long as federal court injunctions are in effect.
As previously reported by Polsinelli, two different federal district courts issued preliminary injunctions blocking enforcement of the CMS Vaccine Requirement this week. The injunctions, which together cover the entire nation, essentially suspend CMS’s first deadline – for health care workers in covered facilities to obtain their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by December 6, 2021. The CMS Vaccine Requirement requires completed vaccination against COVID-19 for nearly all staff working in a facility that participates in the Medicare and Medicaid programs by January 4, 2022. CMS confirmed in guidance Thursday evening that it will not enforce the vaccination requirement pending future developments in the ongoing cases. The Biden Administration appealed both preliminary injunction rulings to the applicable federal circuit courts. The preliminary injunctions remain in effect as each of the district courts denied the Administration’s request for a stay of the preliminary injunction order pending appeal.