Centers for Medicare & Medicaid to Apply COVID-19 Vaccination Rule, Sets New Deadlines | Jackson Lewis PC

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will enforce their COVID-19 vaccination requirement in 25 states, the District of Columbia and other territories, according to an update released on December 28, 2021.

CMS is prohibited from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccination rule in the other 25 states, which are involved in a case challenging its rule. Pleadings in this case are set for the United States Supreme Court on January 7, 2022.

Here’s what covered providers and affected providers need to know:

  • With the exception of 25 states, CMS will enforce its COVID-19 vaccination requirement in every state, territory and District of Columbia. CMS will not enforce its requirements in: 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.
  • CMS has established the following new compliance deadlines:
    • Phase 1 – January 27, 2022: All covered personnel should receive their first dose of a multidose vaccine against COVID-19, unless they have pending requests for, or have been granted, medical or religious exemptions, or for whom vaccination against COVID-19 should be temporarily delayed, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, due to precautions and clinical considerations.
    • Phase 2 – February 28, 2022: All covered personnel must be fully immunized or have received an approved medical or religious exemption.
  • While CMS expects 100 percent compliance with its rule, it will provide facilities with an opportunity to comply if found to be non-compliant by a surveyor. CMS will issue penalties based on the severity of the non-compliance and the type of installation. Non-Compliant Covered Suppliers and Suppliers may be subject to remediation plans, civil monetary penalties, denial of payment, termination of the agreement, or other penalties available under the powers of CMS. According to CMS, “the only recourse for non-compliance for hospitals and certain other providers of acute and continuing care is termination; But termination “would generally only take place after giving an establishment the opportunity to make corrections and bring itself into compliance”.
  • Affected CMS Suppliers and Suppliers who have suspended compliance with the CMS Interim Final Rule should resume their compliance efforts to ensure they meet the January 27 and February 28 deadlines.

Since the definition of “covered personnel” is broad, the CMS rule will also have an impact on third party employers who provide services to relevant CMS vendors and vendors. Relevant employers should continue to monitor developments.

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