Date: January 14, 2022
Today, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling to reinstate the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) COVID Vaccine Mandate policy in all 50 states.
For RHCs, this means that RHCs will be expected to comply with the Vaccine Mandate policy as soon as January 28th. There may be some additional time allowed for RHCs in states where this policy was blocked by the injunction, and the National Association of Rural Health Clinics assumes that CMS will re-issue or update this guidance with a clarification soon.
This ruling settles the on-again, off-again nature of this mandate for the time being. The Supreme Court did not rule on the fundamental constitutionality of the policy. Instead, they ruled on the authority of CMS to enforce this rule while the underlying court cases challenging the constitutionality of the rule work their way through the court system.
The bottom line is that RHCs should prepare their COVID vaccine mandate policies and procedures immediately. Eventually, all employees will need to be fully vaccinated, or properly granted a medical or religious exemption. For a detailed overview of the Vaccine mandate, please review the article here.