Today, FAH provided CMS and OSHA with critical recommendations for these agencies to consider in developing policy regarding implementation of the recent federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers (HCWs) and other employees of businesses (including hospitals and health systems) with over 100 employees.
In September, President Biden announced a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and as part of the mandate, CMS is developing interim final implementing regulations that, as a condition of participation in Medicare or Medicaid, would require COVID-19 vaccinations for HCWs in most health care settings, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies. In addition, OSHA is developing an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.
Among other key recommendations, the FAH highlights the need for hospital flexibility in implementing the requirements, urges an exemption for hospitals already subject to state or locally ordered COVID-19 vaccine mandates from the corresponding federal requirement, and also urges the agencies’ consideration of key issues, such as the impact of the vaccine mandate on staff availability and testing capacity; flexible reporting requirements; exemptions if hospitals are in compliance with state requirements; scope of definitions; religious and medical exemptions from vaccination; consistency of federal regulatory requirements; cost of testing; and enforcement discretion.
You can read the entire letter here.