16 states renew fight against CMS' vaccine rule

Sixteen state attorneys general asked a federal judge Feb. 4 to block the federal vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. 

The sixteen states represented are Louisiana, Montana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia. They filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. 

Omicron's resistance to COVID-19 vaccines and healthcare labor shortages are at the center of the argument put forth by the attorneys general. "Simply put, the situation has changed," the lawsuit reads. "And that reveals a fundamental, structural defect in the rule — its one-size-fits-all approach doesn't account for developing data and circumstances."

Fourteen of the attorneys general are from the 24 states that were affected by the Jan. 13 Supreme Court decision that upheld CMS' vaccination mandate for eligible staff at healthcare facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. In a 6-3 decision, the court blocked enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's vaccinate-or-test mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.

Healthcare facilities in all of the 16 states except Tennessee and Virginia face a deadline of Feb. 14 for their employees to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with a deadline of March 15 for full vaccination. Healthcare facilities in Tennessee and Virginia had a first-dose deadline of Jan. 27 with a full vaccination deadline of Feb. 28. (Deadlines for each state are listed here.) 

A CMS spokesperson told Becker's the agency does not comment on matters in litigation.




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