As required by the Biden-Harris Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an emergency regulation that requires the COVID-19 vaccination of eligible staff at heath care facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The regulation will create a consistent standard within Medicare and Medicaid while giving patients assurance of the vaccination status of those delivering care. These requirements will apply to approximately 76,000 providers and cover over 17 million health care workers across the country.
Facilities covered by this regulation must establish a policy ensuring all eligible staff have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to providing any care, treatment, or other services by December 5, 2021. All eligible staff must have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated (either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson) by January 4, 2022.
The regulation also provides for exemptions based on recognized medical conditions or religious beliefs, observances, or practices. Facilities must develop a similar process or plan for permitting exemptions in alignment with federal law.
CMS will ensure compliance with these requirements through established survey and enforcement processes. If a provider or supplier does not meet the requirements, it will be cited by a surveyor as being non-compliant and have an opportunity to return to compliance before additional actions occur. CMS’s goal is to bring health care providers into compliance. However, the Agency will not hesitate to use its full enforcement authority to protect the health and safety of patients.
The requirements apply to: Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Hospices, Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, Hospitals, Long Term Care facilities, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities, Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Home Health Agencies, Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, Critical Access Hospitals, Clinics (rehabilitation agencies, and public health agencies as providers of outpatient physical therapy and speech-language pathology services), Community Mental Health Centers, Home Infusion Therapy suppliers, Rural Health Clinics/Federally Qualified Health Centers, and End-Stage Renal Disease Facilities.