Biden Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for Medicare Providers

November 4, 2021

Biden Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for Medicare Providers

On November 4, the Biden administration released long-awaited regulations that require many Medicare-participating providers to ensure that their staff is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The interim final rule, released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), adds a new section to the ASC Conditions for Coverage at § 416.51(c) that requires ASCs to establish and implement policies and procedures “for COVID-19 vaccination of all staff (includes employees; licensed practitioners; students, trainees, and volunteers; and other individuals) who provide care, treatment, or other services for the provider or its patients.”

Timeline

Per CMS, “Facilities covered by this regulation must establish a policy ensuring all eligible staff have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to providing any care, treatment, or other services by December 6, 2021. All eligible staff must have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated—either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson—by January 4, 2022. The regulation also provides for exemptions based on recognized medical conditions or religious beliefs, observances, or practices. Facilities must develop a similar process or plan for permitting exemptions in alignment with federal law.”

Enforcement

CMS will issue new interpretative guidelines, including new survey procedures, and instruct surveyors to determine compliance. ASCs cited for noncompliance may be subject to enforcement remedies ranging from civil penalties to termination of their Medicare certification.

Outreach

CMS has released a frequently asked questions document and will hold a national stakeholder call to discuss the rule from 2:00–3:00 pm ET on November 4. You can register for the call at the following link and submit any questions in advance to partnership@cms.hhs.gov with the subject heading “IFC-6 Stakeholder Call Question.”

Simultaneously, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released an interim final rule that will require COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing for employers with 100 or more employees.

Please contact Kara Newbury with any questions.