On December 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance on the Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule that was published on November 5, 2021. The emergency regulation requires vaccinations for eligible staff at health care facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The staff vaccination requirement applies to the Medicare and Medicaid-certified outpatient provider and supplier types including Ambulatory Surgery Centers.
Due to pending future developments in litigation, implementation and enforcement of this regulation is paused in the following 25 states: 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, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Facilities in these states are not required to comply with the rule at this time.
The rule currently applies to facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs in the remaining 25 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories. Facilities covered by this regulation (but not in the enjoined states) must establish a policy ensuring all eligible staff have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to providing any care, treatment, or other services by January 27, 2022, 30 days following the publication of the guidance. All eligible staff must have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson – by February 28, 2022, 60 days following the publication of the guidance.