CMS pushes deadline for vaccine mandate in 24 states
Healthcare workers in the 24 states that are newly subject to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ COVID-19 vaccine mandate will need to get their first shot by Feb. 14 and final shot by March 15, according to new guidance released by CMS Friday.
Facilities in the 24 states subject to the new guidance will also need to demonstrate that they’ve developed policies and procedures to make sure all facility staff are vaccinated against COVID-19 by Feb. 14.
The guidance specifically applies to 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 guidance does not apply to Texas, since the state is part of a separate lawsuit that wasn’t before the Supreme Court. The mandate is still stayed in the state.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that CMS’ requirement that employees at Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities get vaccinated against COVID-19 could go into effect pending appeals in lower courts. The mandate was previously stayed in about half the country after states brought lawsuits against the policy.
Thursday’s decision does not affect compliance dates for providers in states where the mandate was already in effect, CMS says. Health workers in those 25 states, plus the District of Columbia and the territories, must get their first dose by Jan. 27 and by fully vaccinated or exempt from the requirement by Feb. 28.