CMS Announces Updated Vaccine Mandate Compliance Deadlines for Select States
On January 14, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced updated compliance deadlines for the November 5, 2021 Interim Final Rule (IFR) requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for covered health care staff. Baird Holm previously reported on the Supreme Court’s decision to lift the injunction against CMS’s vaccine mandate on January 13, 2022. The next day, CMS issued a memorandum with compliance deadlines for the 24 states (including Nebraska and Iowa) that were previously under injunctions to halt CMS compliance.
Which States are Affected?
The January 14, 2022 memorandum specifically applies to:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Notably, the memorandum does not apply to Texas at this time because the state is still under a separate preliminary injunction. For the 25 other unlisted states, CMS previously announced updated compliance deadlines on December 28, 2021 that remain in effect.
What Are the New Compliance Deadlines?
In the 24 states listed above, Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities are expected to comply with the following deadlines:
- By February 13, 2022, covered facilities must (1) establish policies and procedures to ensure all staff is vaccinated, and (2) ensure 100% of staff has received at least one dose of the vaccine (unless an exemption is pending or granted).
- By March 15, 2022, covered facilities must (1) establish policies and procedures to ensure all staff is vaccinated, and (2) ensure 100% of staff members have received the second dose of any two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or the first dose of any single dose COVID-19 vaccine (unless an exemption has been granted).
CMS requires 100% of staff in qualifying facilities to be fully vaccinated, unless there are staff members requiring exemption or a CDC-recommended temporary delay in vaccination. Any vaccination rate below 100% is considered non-compliance and may be subject to penalties. Facilities who are non-compliant by these deadlines will receive a notice from CMS for failure to comply.
- By February 13, 2022, a noncompliant facility may not be subject to additional penalties if (1) at least 80% of staff has received the first dosage of a COVID-19 vaccine, and (2) the facility has a plan to achieve 100% compliance.
- By March 15, 2022, a noncompliant facility may not be subject to additional penalties if: (1) at least 90% of staff are fully vaccinated, and (2) the facility has a plan to achieve 100% compliance within 30 days.
Covered, non-compliant facilities who do not satisfy these requirements may face penalties depending on the severity of the non-compliance. Penalties may include plans of correction, civil monetary penalties, denial of payments, or termination of participation from Medicare of Medicaid programs. CMS noted that surveys for compliance will begin on February 13, 2022. At this time, covered entities should continue working towards compliance.
Additional provider-specific guidance is available here.