Earlier today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new emergency regulation requiring COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers in the following organizations: Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Community Mental Health Centers, Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, Critical Access Hospitals, End-Stage Renal 2 Disease Facilities, Home Health Agencies, Home Infusion Therapy Suppliers, Hospices, Hospitals, Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Clinics, Rehabilitation Agencies, and Public Health Agencies as Providers of Outpatient Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology Services, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs) Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly Organizations (PACE), Rural Health Clinics/Federally Qualified Health Centers, and Long-term Care facilities.
Fire and EMS departments are not listed in this group. Despite these recent new federal regulations regarding COVID-19 vaccine requirements, fire and EMS departments remain covered under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Fire and EMS departments that provide interfacility transport may have to work with facilities covered by the CMS mandate to see if they are affected.
In addition, OSHA has made it clear that its new COVID-19 vaccine standard does not cover “settings where any employee provides health care services or health care support services when subject to the requirements of the Healthcare ETS….” Fire and EMS departments are covered under the June Healthcare ETS.
Fire and EMS chiefs are encouraged to review the IAFC’s information about the June OSHA Healthcare ETS. In addition, they are encouraged to check with their own legal departments about state and local COVID-19 vaccine requirements.