Clarification: Physician offices do not count as “facilities” or “clinics” in this context. As stated in FAQs from the federal CMS, “This regulation will also not apply to physician’s offices because they are not subject to [federal] CMS health and safety regulations.” However, “a physician admitting and/or treating patients in-person within a facility subject to the CMS health and safety regulations and included as a part of this requirement must be vaccinated so that the facility is compliant.”
On Dec. 29, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (federal CMS) released guidance on the Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule that was published on Nov. 5, 2021. The emergency regulation requires vaccinations for eligible staff at health care facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The staff vaccination requirement applies to the following Medicare and Medicaid-certified provider and supplier types:
- Ambulatory Surgery Centers,
- Community Mental Health Centers,
- Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities,
- Critical Access Hospitals,
- End-Stage Renal Disease Facilities,
- Home Health Agencies,
- Home Infusion Therapy Suppliers,
- Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities,
- Rehabilitation Agencies,
- Public Health Agencies as Providers of Outpatient Physical Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology Services,
- Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTFs) Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly Organizations (PACE),
- Rural Health Clinics/Medicare Federally Qualified Health Centers,
- and Long Term Care facilities.
The American Medical Association and Colorado Medical Society strongly support vaccination requirements in health care settings.
While the implementation and enforcement of this regulation is enjoined in 25 states, Colorado is not involved in the litigation and the rule currently applies to facilities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
- Facilities covered by this regulation (but not in the enjoined states) must establish a policy ensuring all eligible staff have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine prior to providing any care, treatment, or other services by Jan. 27, 2022, 30 days following the publication of the guidance.
- All eligible staff must have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson – by Feb. 28, 2022, 60 days following the publication of the guidance.
- Federal CMS webpage: https://www.cms.gov/medicareprovider-enrollment-and-certificationsurveycertificationgeninfopolicy-and-memos-states-and/guidance-interim-final-rule-medicare-and-medicaid-programs-omnibus-covid-19-health-care-staff-0
- Direct link to the cover memo: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/qso-22-07-all.pdf
- FAQs: https://www.cms.gov/files/document/cms-omnibus-covid-19-health-care-staff-vaccination-requirements-2021.pdf