Missouri allows nursing homes to close temporarily for staffing shortages caused by vaccination mandate

Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services announced Nov. 12 an emergency rule allowing nursing homes to close for up to two years without having to relinquish their licenses in light of federal vaccination mandates, KTTN reported Nov. 16.  

The emergency regulations, which go into effect on Nov. 29 and last through May 27, 2022, establish a temporary closure process for facilities. Any facilities that remain closed longer than two years will be considered permanently closed, according to the emergency regulation.

As of Nov. 10, 56.71 percent of staff members at nursing homes in Missouri were vaccinated, the lowest rate in the country. 

"[T]he vaccine requirement for health care workers addresses the risk of unvaccinated health care staff to patient safety and provides stability and uniformity across the nation’s health care system to strengthen the health of people and the providers who care for them," a CMS spokesperson told Becker's in an email. 

"CMS knows that everyone working in health care wants to do what is best for their patients to keep them safe. Health care workers have a special ethical and professional duty to protect their patients. There is no question that staff in any health care setting who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health. That is why it is imperative for health care providers to ensure their staff who may interact with patients are vaccinated against COVID-19."


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