CMS: Health workers in 25 states and D.C. must be fully vaccinated by Feb. 28

The Biden administration is requiring healthcare facilities in states that aren’t affected by a legal stay to fully vaccinate staff by Feb. 28, 2022.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an updated guidance Tuesday on the contested vaccination mandate for all staff.

CMS had issued an emergency rule outlining the health worker mandate Nov. 5. However, since that date, a series of legal rulings  stayed the mandate in 25 states.

However, the other 25 states and the District of Columbia are still liable for the mandate.

CMS said in the guidance that the new deadline for staff to get the first shot is Jan. 27, 2022, and staff must be fully vaccinated by Feb. 28, 2022, or get an exemption.

Any facility that does not fully comply with the mandate could risk losing participation in Medicare and Medicaid.

Some health systems such as HCA Healthcare and Cleveland Clinic already paused their vaccine mandates after the legal challenges.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week on whether to uphold the entire mandate.

The decision to resume the mandates in certain states drew plaudits from provider groups.

“We believe that CMS’s action is necessary as the nation faces yet another wave of severe COVID-19 infections across the country that is testing the limits of our health care system,” said David Skorton, M.D., president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, in a statement.