Capitol Correspondence - 09.14.21

President Biden Releases COVID-19 Action Plan Addressing Vaccine Mandates

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Last week, President Biden released the administration’s six-part COVID-19 Action Plan, including provisions requiring vaccinations in health care settings and vaccinations or testing for all employers with 100+ employees.

The COVID-19 Action Plan, includes two subsections of Part 1, “Vaccinating the Unvaccinated,” likely to impact ANCOR members:

  1. Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations for Over 17 Million Health Care Workers at Medicare and Medicaid Participating Hospitals and Other Health Care Settings.
  2. Requiring All Employers with 100+ Employees to Ensure Their Workers are Vaccinated or Tested Weekly.

The first subsection is a direction to CMS to create regulation which expands the recent nursing home vaccine mandate to additional health care settings receiving Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement. The second subsection is a direction to OSHA to create a regulation which requires all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or produces a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. These regulations will be promulgated separate from each other with their own standards, timelines for implementation, and comment periods.

While nothing is certain until the regulation is published, CMS reported to ANCOR that the mandate will not apply to home- and community-based services (HCBS) and will impact services with federally specified qualification requirements, including federal conditions of participation. In its news release, CMS stated it is currently developing an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period that will be issued in October. There is currently no date set for when OSHA will implement the new Emergency Temporary Standard for employers with 100+ employees.