Almost two years after issuing its Interim Final Rule requiring COVID-19 vaccination for certain health care works, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has issued a final rule addressing several regulations regarding COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and education requirements in health care facilities.
In short, the rule eliminates the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for staff at certain categories of Medicare-participating health care providers and ends COVID-19 vaccination testing requirements for staff at long-term care (“LTC”) facilities. Additionally, the rule finalizes previously interim provisions regarding COVID-19 vaccination “educate and offer” requirements for residents, staff, and clients at LTC facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (“ICFs-IID”).
The rule states that rolling back COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements enacted during the pandemic aligns with the end of Public Health Emergency (“PHE”) on May 11, 2023 and the concomitant reduction in infection rates, decline in deaths, and significant vaccination uptake by the public.
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