CMS has issued the interim final rule with comment period requiring all healthcare workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The rule mandates vaccinations of eligible staff at healthcare facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs by January 4, 2022.
CMS said the emergency regulation will apply to approximately 76,000 providers and cover over 17 million healthcare workers across the US.
“Ensuring patient safety and protection from COVID-19 has been the focus of our efforts in combatting the pandemic and the constantly evolving challenges we’re seeing,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in an announcement earlier today. “Today’s action addresses the risk of unvaccinated health care staff to patient safety and provides stability and uniformity across the nation’s health care system to strengthen the health of people and the providers who care for them.”
CMS first told healthcare providers that it would tie COVID-19 vaccinations to Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation back in September. The agency believes mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations will protect frontline workers fighting the virus while safeguarding their patients and patient families as the Delta variant continues to spread.
CMS has already required nursing home workers to get vaccinated against the virus and vaccination rates among those workers has increased by about nine percentage points—from 62 percent to 71 percent.
The latest emergency regulation aims to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates among the general healthcare worker population and create a more consistent standard within Medicare and Medicaid.
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