SPECIAL BULLETIN COVID-19 #221: Status of Federal Vaccine Mandates Interim Final Rule Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination
The Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule (IFC) was published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) on Nov. 5, 2021. The IFC requires Medicare and Medicaid-certified provider and supplier types (collectively, “facilities”) that are regulated under the Medicare health and safety standards known as Conditions of Participation (CoPs), Conditions for Coverage (CfCs), or requirements to have a process or policy in place ensuring that all staff are vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of Dec. 15, 2021, implementation and enforcement of the rule was preliminarily enjoined by court order in 25 states. North Carolina was not one of the states to which the preliminary injunction applied; CMS had indicated that it would begin monitoring and enforcing compliance for those 25 states that were not subject to the injunction, meaning that this requirement now applies to North Carolina. The CMS deadline for Phase 1 is Jan. 27, 2022, and the deadline for Phase 2 is Feb. 28, 2022.
On Jan. 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the CMS vaccination mandate to go into effect by staying the previously issued injunctions. As such, all states are now subject to the IFC. CMS has stated that the deadlines previously set for those states not subject to the injunctions will not be affected by the ruling. CMS provides some FAQs for more information.
Executive Order 14042
President Biden issued Executive Order 14042 (EO) on Sept. 9, 2021. The EO requires federal contracts and contract-like instruments to include a clause compelling most contractors and subcontractors to comply with prescribed COVID-19 workplace safety requirements for the duration of the contract, including a mandate for federal contractor employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 18, 2022. Currently, CMS has not included any such clause in any of its agreements with NC Medicaid that would require NC Medicaid to require its contractors to comply. Furthermore, a nationwide preliminary injunction stopping the enforcement of the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts was issued by a Georgia Federal District Court on Dec. 9, 2021. As such, no action is required by NC Medicaid contractors at this time.
We will continue to share information as it becomes available. If you have questions regarding these mandates, you should consult with your compliance or legal office for specific guidance.
NC Medicaid Contact Center: 888-245-0179