Certain Health Care Providers Face Key COVID Vaccination Deadlines

Published by Niki McCormick on

Certain Missouri health care providers are facing key deadlines for compliance with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) COVID-19 vaccination requirement. 

The Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule (“Final Rule”), an emergency regulation issued in November 2021 by CMS, requires COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers, staff, and other workers at facilities regulated under Medicare and Medicaid health and safety standards (“Covered Facility” or “Covered Facilities”).

By February 14, 2022, health care workers and staff at all Covered Facilities in Missouri must have received, at a minimum, their first dose of a primary series or a single dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to working at the Covered Facility.  All health care workers and staff at Covered Facilities in Missouri must complete the primary vaccination series by March 15, 2022.

The vaccine requirement applies to providers and facilities that are subject to the Medicare and Medicaid Conditions of Participation, Conditions for Coverage, or Requirements.  Covered Facilities include the following:

  • Ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs)
  • Hospices
  • Psychiatric residential treatment facilities (PRTFs)
  • Programs of all-inclusive care for the elderly (PACE)
  • Hospitals
  • Long term care facilities
  • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICFS-IID)
  • Home health agencies
  • Comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities
  • Critical access hospitals (CAHs)
  • Clinics, rehabilitation agencies, and public health agencies as providers of outpatient physical therapy and speech-language pathology services (Organizations)
  • Community mental health centers (CMHCs)
  • Home infusion therapy suppliers (HIT)
  • Rural health clinics (RHCs) and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs)
  • End-stage renal disease facilities (ESRD)

The vaccination requirement encompasses eligible staff working at Covered Facilities regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact.  The requirement applies to all staff at the Covered Facilities or their patients.  This includes the Covered Facilities’ employees, licensed practitioners, students, trainees, and volunteers. 

The COVID-19 vaccination requirement generally does not apply to independent physicians or physicians’ offices.  However, physicians with admitting privileges at a hospital, or physicians who are treating patients in-person within a Covered Facility, must be vaccinated.  Further, the requirement also applies to all individuals who provide any care, treatment, or other services for the Covered Facility or its patients under contract or other arrangements, which could include physicians or employees of a physician’s office. 

The upcoming vaccination deadlines do not apply to workers who have been granted exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement or those staff for whom COVID-19 vaccination must be temporarily delayed.  CMS requires facilities to allow some exemptions from the requirement, including exemptions based on disability, sincerely held religious beliefs, and delays for medical reasons, such as for clinical precautions.

Importantly, facilities and physicians who are not included in CMS’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement may nonetheless implement their own internal policies to require vaccination of their employees. 

Our healthcare attorneys are available to answer your specific questions about the new regulations, and will help you implement the requirements.  Please reach out to your Lashly & Baer attorney with any questions.

Prepared by:

Stuart J. Vogelsmeier
Phone 314-436-8349
sjvogels@lashlybaer.com

Scott A. Pummell
Phone 314-436-8369
spummell@lashlybaer.com

This summary and legal alert is an overview of the new guidance.  It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for a specific factual situation.

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