First vaccination deadline arrives for healthcare workers in half the country

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Investigators can now assess long-term care providers’ compliance with a federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate covering healthcare workers in half of the United States. Many long-term care providers are prepared to meet the standards despite ongoing challenges.

Enforcement of the regulations officially began Thursday in states that have not challenged the warrant in court. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, facility staff vaccination rates below 100% constitute noncompliance with the rule.

LeadingAge, following a recent survey of its members, said most providers had implemented mandates months before the federal government announced its plans and that a “vast majority are ready to move forward with the mandates of CMS health workers”.

“Vaccines and boosters are the most powerful tools we have in the battle against COVID-19; they save lives,” Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, said in a statement. “While mandates can sometimes make it harder for employers to keep or find skilled workers – especially as Omicron grows and workforce challenges increase – we encourage all members, regardless of whether the setting or the type of community, to ensure that staff are vaccinated.”

To be fully compliant, providers needed to have policies in place to ensure that all staff in the facility are vaccinated against COVID-19 and ensure that 100% of their non-exempt workers receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. vaccine within 30 days of December 1. 28 memo.

Facilities where less than 100% of staff have received a first dose or have pending exemption requests are considered non-compliant. But any facility with a staff vaccination rate above 80% with a specific plan to reach 100% within 60 days will not be subject to additional enforcement action, CMS said.

After 60 days, full compliance requires facilities to have all necessary policies in place and 100% of staff to have completed their vaccination series. Facilities with vaccination rates above 90% and planning to achieve 100% staff vaccination rates within an additional 30 days will not be subject to additional enforcement action.

Within 90 days and going forward, facilities that do not meet the 100% standard may be subject to enforcement action.

Nearly 82% of nursing home staff had been vaccinated nationwide as of January 16, according to CMS.

“Medicare and Medicaid certified facilities are expected to comply with all applicable regulatory requirements, and CMS has a variety of established enforcement remedies,” a spokesperson said. McKnight Long Term Care News Thursday.

“For nursing homes, home health agencies and hospices, these include civil monetary penalties, denial of payment and even termination of the Medicare and Medicaid program as a final measure,” he said. -he adds. “Termination would generally only occur after giving a facility the opportunity to make corrections and come into compliance.”

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