CMS to release hospital worker vaccination rate data in October

CMS will not release quarterly data on the number of hospital workers vaccinated against COVID-19 and instead will release a full year of the data in October, an agency spokesperson confirmed to Becker's.  

CMS' vaccination mandate, which the Supreme Court upheld Jan. 13, requires healthcare facilities to establish a policy ensuring that eligible workers are fully vaccinated, with exemptions allowed based on religious beliefs or recognized medical conditions. 

Currently, CMS maintains public figures for nursing home workers only. The agency's rule, released in November 2021, also includes data on the projected need for vaccination by provider and supplier type, including hospitals. Additionally, the percentage of hospital workers who receive a complete COVID-19 vaccination course, finalized as a part of the recent fiscal year 2022 payment rules, is included as a part of CMS' Inpatient, Prospective Payment System-Exempt Cancer, Long-Term Care Hospital, Inpatient Psychiatric, and Inpatient Rehabilitation quality reporting programs, an agency spokesperson said in an email to Becker's.

However, "as clarified in the payment rules, CMS will not be updating this measure with quarterly refreshes until the agency has a full year of data (in October 2022)," the spokesperson said.

The move has sparked concern from advocates, who say delaying release of the data makes it harder for patients — particularly those who are chronically ill, immunocompromised, disabled and older — to make informed decisions about the COVID-19 risks of visiting specific facilities, Bloomberg Law reported March 1.  

Hospitals and health systems have been making efforts to comply with the CMS vaccination mandate. Some states have different deadlines for the rule than others based on the Supreme Court decision and a federal court decision that dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas. 

Healthcare facilities in Texas have the last compliance deadline among states and must ensure staff are fully vaccinated by March 21.

For a state-by-state breakdown of compliance deadlines, click here

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