Multiple Vaccination Mandate Regs Converge On Providers

Keep an eye out for Medicare-specific rule.

As state-specific COVID-19 vaccination mandates start to hit home health and hospice agencies, a federal regulation on vaccination for all companies with more than 100 workers is working its way through the system.

What Has Come to Pass

In early September, the Biden-Harris administration announced a number of vaccination mandates, including one for all Medicare and Medicaid-paid healthcare facilities (which included home health agencies (HHAs) and hospices) and one for companies with more than 100 employees. The latter has an opt out with a weekly testing component.

At the same time, many states have implemented their own vaccination mandates on a faster timeline, including New York and California. About 86 percent of home health aides in New York met the Oct. 7 vaccination deadline, reports the New York Times.

Now the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has sent its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on the 100-employee-plus mandate to the White House for final approval. “The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (part of the Office of Management and Budget) often takes months from the time it receives a draft rule from a federal agency to releasing it to the public,” notes attorney Travis W. Vance with Fisher Phillips in Charlotte, North Carolina. But “because this is an ‘emergency’ rule, the White House could theoretically finalize and release the ETS in as early as one day.”

Prediction of Things to Come

Fisher Phillips expects OSHA to release the rule by Oct. 20, with enforcement beginning by Dec. 1, Vance reports. Meanwhile, at press time the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has yet to issue its rule on vaccination mandates for HHAs, hospices, and other healthcare providers.

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About Has 20 Posts

Rebecca L. Johnson, BS, is an executive editor, for The Coding Institute newsletters. She has covered the home health and hospice markets for 20 years.

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