Texas healthcare workers must be fully vaccinated by March 21, per CMS mandate

Medicare and Medicaid providers in Texas covered by the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccination mandate must ensure staff have received at least one dose by Feb. 22 and are fully vaccinated by March 21, CMS said in updated guidance issued Jan. 20.

The updated CMS guidance came after a federal court on Jan. 19 dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas, allowing CMS to enforce the mandate nationwide.

Days before the Texas lawsuit was dismissed, the Supreme Court upheld the mandate Jan. 13.

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 have received at least one dose by Feb. 14 and 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.  

"CMS is now able to fully implement this rule nationwide, and we look forward to working with healthcare providers and their workers to protect patients," a CMS spokesperson said in a statement shared with Becker's. "We will continue our extensive outreach and assistance efforts encouraging individuals working in health care to get vaccinated."

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.   

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