Thursday, November 4, 2021

Very Brief Blog: Interim Final Rule, Vaccinations for Healthcare Workers (Links)

Much press today about an Interim Final Rule affecting vaccination status of healthcare workers in entities serving Medicare and Medicaid patients.  Some links here.

  • Announcement that this was coming, September 9, here.
  • Press release November 4, here.
  • Federal Register page (publication 11/5) here.
  • Preliminary publication (typescript) here.
  • Trade press at "Rev Cycle" here.
  • While the interim final regulation promises to be effective January 4, regardless of comments, comments are accepted for 60 days (circa Jan 4).
    • Separately, the interim final rule from OSHA regarding large-employer vaccinations is online here.  This was quickly put on hold by a federal appeals court.
Quoting Rev Cycle, 
"CMS has issued the interim final rule with comment period requiring all healthcare workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The rule mandates vaccinations of eligible staff at healthcare facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs by January 4, 2022.  
CMS said the emergency regulation will apply to approximately 76,000 providers and cover over 17 million healthcare workers across the US."

The rules apply "regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact" to staff who provide "services for the center or its patients."  Telehealth employees who do not come on site (have contact with neither patients nor staff) are exempt.  Students and volunteers are included.  Employees and contractors are included.


Page 18 of the typescript recites 5 previous interim final rules (April 6, May 8, September 2, November 6), all 2020, and also May 13, 2021. 

A substantial part of the rulemaking is the actual regulations, running from p. 169 to page 214.   However, this is in part because they have to plug the Vax rules into multiple regulations, ASC regulations, hospital regulations, hospice regulations, and so on. The regulations are generally inserted into existing regulations mandating "infection control."