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Capitol Correspondence - 12.07.21

CMS Suspends Enforcement of COVID-19 Vaccination Rule

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memo to state survey agency directors suspending enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccination regulation while preliminary injunctions are in place.

The memo states: “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will not enforce the new rule regarding vaccination of health care workers or requirements for policies and procedures in certified Medicare/Medicaid providers and suppliers (including nursing facilities, hospitals, dialysis facilities and all other provider types covered by the rule) while there are court-ordered injunctions in place prohibiting enforcement of this provision.”

Litigation over the CMS vaccine rule continues, with preliminary injunctions granted by both the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (applying initially to ten states) and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (expanding the preliminary injunction nationwide). The Biden administration has appealed both preliminary injunction rulings to the applicable federal circuit courts, and the preliminary injunctions remain in effect pending appeal.

ANCOR welcomes clarification from CMS given the difficulty providers would face in compliance. As written, the CMS rule would have mandated compliance with Phase 1 of the rule requiring employers to ensure all covered health care workers receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by December 6; at the time of that deadline, the preliminary injunctions still remained in place.