24 states must ensure healthcare workers are fully vaccinated by March 15, CMS says

CMS issued updated guidance Jan. 14 for enforcement of the agency's healthcare worker COVID-19 vaccination mandate, including that covered providers must ensure their employees are fully vaccinated by March 15.

The updated guidance was released one day after the Supreme Court upheld the CMS rule, which requires healthcare facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to establish a policy ensuring eligible workers are fully vaccinated, 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 adhere to the March 15 deadline, CMS said. 

A preliminary injunction is still in effect for Texas, meaning "surveyors in Texas should not undertake any efforts to implement or enforce" the rule, according to the updated guidance. 

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. 

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