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New Guidance for CMS Vaccine Mandate

 
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new guidance regarding its vaccine requirement for health care workers, a few weeks before the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the mandate. Read on to learn more about the status of the mandate.
 
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new guidance regarding the agency's COVID-19 vaccine requirement for workers in CMS certified facilities, including community health centers. The rule was initially released in November of this year but faced legal challenges that resulted in a temporary pause in the implementation and enforcement of the order across the country. Most recently, a court overturned the legal decision that had halted implementation of the mandate, which allowed it to take effect in about half of U.S. states, including Tennessee.  
 
What does the new CMS guidance require? 
Due to the court decisions, the original implementation deadlines could not take effect. However, CMS released new guidance regarding the COVID-19 mandate, with compliance deadlines of January 27 and February 28. 
 
By January 27, 2022, facilities are required to:
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures ensuring all facility staff are vaccinated for COVID-19, including tracking staff vaccinations and documenting exemptions; and 
  • Have 100% of staff receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine or have a pending requests for, or have been granted a qualifying exemption, or are identified as having a temporary delay as recommended by the CDC. 
 
By February 28, 2022, facilities are required to: 
  • Have 100% of staff receive the necessary doses to complete the vaccine series (one dose of a single-dose vaccine or all doses of a multiple vaccine series) or have been granted a qualifying exemption or are identified as having a temporary delay as recommended by the CDC. 
 
Although CMS released new implementation deadlines, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments regarding the CMS mandate and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates for employers with 100 or more employees on January 7. The ruling from the Supreme Court could affect how implementation and enforcement of the mandate proceed.  
 
 

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