Last Friday, the federal government published its interim final rule that is 73 pages of government fine print. CMS is essentially requiring everyone who works in healthcare to become fully vaccinated for COVID or they will not reimburse for Medicare or Medicaid services. The staff vaccination requirement applies to all Medicare and Medicaid-certified provider and supplier types: Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Community Mental Health Centers, Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, Critical Access Hospitals, End-Stage Renal 2 Disease Facilities, Home Health Agencies, Home Infusion Therapy Suppliers, Hospices, Hospitals, Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Clinics, Rehabilitation Agencies, and Public Health Agencies as Providers of Outpatient Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology Services, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs) Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly Organizations (PACE), Rural Health Clinics/Federally Qualified Health Centers, and Long Term Care facilities. This vaccination requirement applies to eligible staff working at any facility that participates in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact. The requirement includes all current staff as well as any new staff who provide any care, treatment, or any other services for the facility and/or its patients. This includes facility employees, licensed practitioners, students, trainees, and volunteers. Additionally, this also includes individuals who provide care, treatment, or other services for the facility and/or its patients under contract or other arrangements. So to put it simply, if you work (including suppliers and vendors), are a student, or volunteer in or for a Medicare/Medicaid certified facility, this requirement applies to you. And, before the independent members of the medical staff ask, yes, any physician admitting and/or treating patients in-person within a facility is included as a part of this requirement must be vaccinated so that the facility is compliant.
CSSE is reporting 46,931,055 positive cases in the U.S. and 760,970 deaths.