On January 13th, the United States Supreme Court released its ruling on the Biden Administration's vaccination rules for health-care workers. The Court wrote, "[w]e agree with the Government that the [Health and Human Services] Secretary's rule falls within the authorities that Congress has conferred upon him." This mandate, which does not include an option for weekly testing, applies to workers at hospitals and other health care facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. It is estimated that this rule would affect more than 17 million workers and includes medical and religious exemptions.
The Biden Administration's COVID-19 action plan, Path Out of the Pandemic announced in September included a vaccination mandate for certain healthcare settings. On November 4, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS) published Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule(IFR), with an effective date of November 5, 2021. The mandate applies to Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers that are regulated under the Medicare Conditions of Participation, Conditions for Coverage, or Requirements for Participation.
- As of November 30, 2021, the mandate is on hold because the federal district court in Louisiana entered a preliminary injunction enjoining the mandate, this time
- The Federal Government is expected to appeal and ask the courts of appeals to allow the mandate to go into effect, but it will not happen right away.
- There will likely be appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court once the courts of appeals rule, too.
- Therefore, it is projected that we will not know about the status of the CMS vaccine mandate for several weeks, well past the December 6, 2021 deadline.
- There are likely many entities across the country that have already begun to implement the original mandate requirements. These activities include the development of specific policies & procedures, entity-specific rules, personnel decisions based on vaccination/COVID testing status, etc.
We are not in a position to dictate or suggest what your business decisions should be; however, we advise clients to follow the most up-to-date information and include sources such as the Federal Government, their clinical leadership, their own counsel and their individual state Departments of Public Health. This is a constantly evolving situation and we recommend that clients continue to utilize their administrative processes in order to decide what is best for their institutions.
As states and other governmental authorities lift the restrictions imposed around the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are starting to prepare for reopening. The decision to reopen is a complex issue. We cannot advise you whether you should or should not reopen your business. If you decide to do so, we have generated this information for your review and consideration. It includes some high-level ideas that you may want to consider as you move through the process of opening your business. This generalized information does not take into account all of the unique and specific issues that may be involved in opening your business. If you have questions about this information or your insurance coverages, please contact your Gallagher representative.