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The CMS Mandate and How It May Affect Your Business

To recap, the CMS rule requires many Medicare and Medicaid providers to ensure that their covered staff are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Along the way, CMS has issued guidance and adjusted compliance deadlines by state, including updating its FAQs. The adjustments and new deadlines may leave some healthcare entities wondering where they stand in terms of coverage and compliance with the mandate.

As new information gets rolled out, we are here to update you and give you a few easy steps to determine if/how the CMS mandate would affect your business.

Does The CMS Apply To Your Business?

Not all recipients of Medicare or Medicaid funds are covered by the mandate. The vaccine mandate and other requirements apply only to healthcare settings where CMS regulates health and safety.
  • The staff vaccination requirement applies to the following Medicare and Medicaid-certified provider and supplier types: Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Community Mental Health Centers, Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, Critical Access Hospitals, End-Stage Renal Disease Facilities, Home Health Agencies, Home Infusion Therapy Suppliers, Hospices, Hospitals, Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Clinics, Rehabilitation Agencies, and Public Health Agencies as Providers of Outpatient Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology Services, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs), Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Organizations, Rural Health Clinics/ Federally Qualified Health Centers (Medicare only), and Long Term Care facilities.

If the CMS Rule Applies, What Are The Requirements for your Business to Remain in Compliance?

Covered employers must comply with the primary requirements of the mandate in two phases.
  • The regulation requires health care providers to establish a process or policy to fulfill the staff vaccination requirements over two phases.
    • For Phase 1, within 30 days after the guidance is posted, staff at all health care facilities included within the regulation must have received, at a minimum, the first dose of a primary series or a single dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to staff providing any care, treatment, or other services for the facility and/or its patients.
    • For Phase 2, within 60 days after the guidance is posted, staff at all health care provider and supplier types included in the regulation must complete the primary vaccination series (except for those who have been granted exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine or those staff for whom COVID-19 vaccination must be temporarily delayed, as recommended by CDC). If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, it will be effective on the next business day. View the CMS Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination rule implementation and enforcement timeline on the CMS Emergencies Page.

What are the Deadlines for Compliance for your Eligible Business?

For deadline purposes, deadlines vary according to the state in which they are located.

Category A States: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Category B States: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Texas: The deadlines for Texas are distinct because of separate litigation that occurred there.

Category Phase 1 Deadline Phase 2 Deadline
Category A Jan. 27, 2022 Feb. 28, 2022
Category B Feb. 14, 2022 March 15, 2022
Texas Feb. 22, 2022 March 21, 2022

So, What’s Next?

Make sure to confirm eligibility if you have not already done so. Prepare and communicate your vaccine policies. Develop a process to handle vaccine accommodation requests, and maintain detailed records of your processes.

As more information is released on this topic we will be sure to update you via our website or email. We will also do our best to guide you and continue to advise on best practices during the days ahead.
Please contact your HR Consultant soon so we can assist you in your planning and implementation.

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