CMS Announces Plans to Mandate Vaccination for All Nursing Home Staff

CMS Announces Plans to Mandate Vaccination for All Nursing Home Staff

Through an early release to CNN, CMS announced this afternoon that they plan to mandate vaccination for all nursing home providers.  A subsequent email from CMS included a CMS press release and White House Fact Sheet, but noted that CMS cannot provide more details now.  The press release indicates the new regulation will be issued in September.  CMS leadership reached out to LeadingAge immediately prior to the CNN announcement and described the rulemaking as an Interim Final Rule.  The press release terms it an emergency regulation.  Here are the topline points in the CMS press release:

  • High levels of staff vaccination link to fewer COVID-19 outbreaks among residents.
  • CMS will release an emergency regulation requiring vaccination for all staff in nursing homes sometime in September.
  • CMS will work closely with CDC, long-term care associations, unions and other stakeholders to advance policies that keep residents safe (presumably, this mandate).
  • CMS will continue to analyze NHSN data to monitor compliance and will deploy the QIOs to educate and engage nursing homes with low rates of vaccinations.
  • CMS expects nursing home providers to use all available resources to support employees getting vaccinated, including employee education and vaccination clinics.

In a strong statement right after the announcement, Katie Sloan noted LeadingAge has already encouraged providers to make vaccine a condition of employment.  However, she added that penalizing nursing homes by withdrawing or withholding funding is not the right way to increase vaccination rates and would be a tragic misstep.  



Laura Hofmann, MSN, RN – Director of Clinical and Nursing Facility Regulatory Services
c: 425-231-4804

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