Today the Supreme Court issued a ruling affecting vaccine-and-testing requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Supreme Court blocked an emergency temporary standard by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration that would have required employers with at least 100 employees to ensure that their workers were vaccinated or tested each week and wear a mask each day.
The Supreme Court upheld another COVID-19 staff vaccination mandate by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This mandate specifically affects the following Medicare and Medicaid-certified provider and supplier types: Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Community Mental Health Centers, Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, Critical Access Hospitals, End-Stage Renal 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/Medicare Federally Qualified Health Centers, and Long Term Care facilities.
Under this mandate, the covered facilities must have a plan to ensure that their staff receive their first vaccine dose (or receive a one-shot vaccine) by January 27, 2022. The full vaccination (second dose) is required by February 28, 2022.
Fire and EMS departments are not covered by the CMS rule. However, if a fire or EMS department is engaged in interfacility transport, it should discuss the CMS rule with the facilities for which it provides interfacility transport to see if the fire or EMS department must come into compliance.
For more information on the CMS vaccine mandate, please consult the CMS FAQs. In addition, there is a one-pager on the CMS COVID-19 vaccine mandate that may be helpful.
Ken LaSala is the IAFC’s Director of Government Relations & Policy.