Following the announcement Thursday that healthcare providers in 24 states had been added to the federal vaccine mandate roster, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Friday that those workers must be fully vaccinated by March 15. The 24 states joined 25 others, Washington, D.C, and territories, whose workers must have at least one COVID-19 shot by January 27, and be fully vaccinated by February 28. The mandates are based on guidance issued December 28 and follow Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling removing an earlier injunction to the mandate issued by a lower federal court.
The sweeping mandate applies to workers at hospitals and other healthcare facilities, including nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. "Regardless of clinical responsibility or resident contact, the policies and procedures must apply to … individuals who provide care, treatment, or other services for the facility and/or its residents, under contract or by other arrangement."
The states included in the compliance memo are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The mandate now extends to all U.S. states except Texas, where a preliminary injunction still applies.
The CMS memo warned that, "Facilities that do not meet these parameters could be subject to additional enforcement actions depending on the severity of the deficiency and the type of facility … (including) plans of correction, civil monetary penalties, denial of payment, termination, etc."