CMS Plans to Unwind Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Healthcare Employers

On November 4, 2021, the Biden administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an interim final rule which required certain workers at CMS-covered healthcare facilities to be vaccinated. Given a recent announcement by the Biden-Harris administration ending the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, CMS has stated that it will “soon end” its mandatory vaccination requirement. While no additional details have been provided at this time, CMS has indicated that additional guidance will be forthcoming after May 11, 2023, the effective date that the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency ends.

Consistent with EEOC guidelines, which permit healthcare institutions to voluntarily institute mandatory vaccination policies, CMS continues to support the COVID-19 vaccination and encourages healthcare professionals to stay current on their vaccination status. CMS’s planned withdrawal of the mandatory vaccination rule does not, and will not, prohibit employers from requiring employees to be vaccinated and, absent state-specific requirements, is expected to allow healthcare employers to self-determine whether to require COVID-19 vaccinations, including incorporating the vaccines in existing infectious disease policies.

We are monitoring CMS activity and will issue an update as soon as the vaccine mandate is officially withdrawn.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.