On May 1, 2023, the Biden administration announced that it would be ending all of its various COVID-19 vaccination requirements on May 11, 2023, the same date as the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency will end, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun the process to terminate the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’s (CMS) interim final rule requiring CMS-certified healthcare facilities to implement and enforce a policy that all covered staff within their covered facilities be vaccinated against COVID-19. Several states and medical groups challenged the interim rule and the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the rule in January 2022. Ever since, covered facilities have been navigating the logistics of complying with this mandate.
- The COVID-19 vaccination requirements for CMS-certified healthcare facilities will end in May.
- The withdrawal of the federal mandate does not prohibit employers from requiring employees to be vaccinated or implementing other safety protocols.
Effects of the Announcement
Now, without the federal government’s mandate forcing their compliance, CMS-certified facilities will have to determine whether to continue any of their COVID-19 vaccination requirements going forward. Withdrawal of these rules will not automatically prohibit employers from requiring vaccination or implementing other safety protocols that are appropriate for their workforce. Employers at covered facilities may want to conduct an individualized analysis to determine the organization’s needs, risks, and culture when deciding how to proceed.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor HHS and CMS for guidance regarding the end of the vaccine mandate and will post updates on the COVID-19/Coronavirus, Healthcare, and Workplace Safety and Health blogs as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.