White House to Mandate Vaccines for Home Health and Hospices

Situation Report | September 13, 2021    

On September 9, 2021, the Biden Administration announced vaccination requirements for home health and hospice agencies, as well as other health care providers that will be published as an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period sometime in October. 

The announcement is available here.

Specifically, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to home health, hospice, hospitals, dialysis facilities and ambulatory surgical settings. This action builds on the vaccination requirement for nursing facilities recently announced by CMS, and will apply to nursing home staff as well as staff in hospitals and other CMS-regulated settings, including clinical staff, individuals providing services under arrangements, volunteers and staff who are not involved in direct patient, resident or client care. 

In addition, President Biden announced that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement. 

The ETS is expected to require employers to provide paid time off for employees to obtain vaccinations, including recovery time associated with post-vaccination reactions. 

Lastly, implementation of a plan to provide booster COVID-19 vaccines depends on authorization of boosters by the Food and Drug Administration and recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). As soon as authorizations are given, the Biden Administration will be prepared to offer booster shots, starting the week of September 20.

More information on these requirements and other efforts to combat the pandemic are available on the White House website

It is not clear how these new federal vaccination mandates will affect, if at all, New York State’s mandate. HCA will provide additional information once it becomes available.