CMS healthcare worker COVID-19 vaccination mandate enforceable nationwide after Texas suit dismissed

CMS may enforce its COVID-19 vaccination mandate nationwide after a federal court on Jan. 19 dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas, Bloomberg Law reported. 

The Supreme Court upheld the mandate Jan. 13, meaning the mandate became enforceable in every state but Texas, where a preliminary injunction was still in effect.

When the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed a lawsuit filed by Texas in light of the Supreme Court decision, enforcement expanded to the entire country, according to Bloomberg Law.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Dec. 16 that the state secured a preliminary injunction against the federal mandate for healthcare workers. On Jan. 14, the Biden administration appealed the injunction and requested a stay of the injunction pending its appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The CMS rule requires healthcare facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to establish a policy ensuring eligible workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with exemptions allowed based on religious beliefs or recognized medical conditions.  

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, healthcare providers in the 24 states covered by the decision (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming) must ensure their employees are fully vaccinated by March 15. 

CMS said the Supreme Court decision does not affect compliance timelines for providers in the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories and the other 25 states that did not challenge the mandate, which must have their employees fully vaccinated by Feb. 28.  

According to Bloomberg Law, the agency hasn't announced a deadline for healthcare facilities in Texas.

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