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Capitol Correspondence - 10.26.21

CMS and OSHA Close to Finalizing Vaccine Regulations; Announcement Expected in Late October

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Both the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are in the last stages of finalizing their regulations that will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employees of certain types of organizations. Both CMS and OSHA have submitted their drafts to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review.

Dr. Lee Fleisher, chief medical officer for CMS and director of the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ), has confirmed that its regulation—which will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for Medicare- and Medicaid-participating nursing homes and Medicare- and Medicaid-certified health care providers that are regulated under CMS regulations—will be published in “late October.”

Meanwhile, dozens of groups including corporations and associations, have requested meetings with OMB to express concerns about the OSHA regulation, which would mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for employers with 100 or more employees.

For more information on the pending CMS and OSHA vaccination regulations, see ANCOR’s FAQ:

CMS Regulation: Vaccine Mandate

  • Which services will the vaccine mandate apply to? CMS had reported that the regulation will not apply to HCBS.
  • Will it only apply to settings that receive BOTH Medicaid and Medicare funding? No. It will apply to settings which are defined by the regulation and funded either by Medicaid or Medicare or both.

OSHA Regulation: Vaccination or Weekly Testing

  • If the CMS regulation does not apply to my agency, does that mean the OSHA regulation doesn’t apply either? No. The CMS regulation and the OSHA regulation are separate standards. Your agency could fall into one or either or both. It will depend on what services you provide (CMS) and whether you have 100 or more employees (OSHA).
  • What does an Emergency Temporary Standard mean? The direction to OSHA is to implement an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). Many ANCOR members may be familiar with the current OSHA ETS impacting healthcare settings. This likely will not replace the healthcare ETS and will exist as a separate regulation for employers with 100+ employees. Much like the CMS regulation, your agency could fall into one or either or both.