The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will issue emergency regulations expanding its requirement for nursing home staff to be vaccinated to include workers at Medicare and Medicaid-certified hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies, among others. CMS is expected to issue an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period in October 2021.
In its September 9, 2021, announcement, CMS urged health care workers employed at facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to begin the vaccination process immediately if they have not already been vaccinated. Facilities are also encouraged to use all available resources to support employee vaccinations.
The CMS announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Abbott’s August 25, 2021, Executive Order 39 that among other things prohibits state agencies from enforcing a vaccine mandate against any individual.
The combination of the federal mandate and the state prohibition likely will result in multiple challenges to one or both initiatives.