CMS Issues New Guidance for Vaccine Mandate

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Jan 18, 2022
In a ruling last Thursday by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), SCOTUS permitted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to resume enforcement of its interim final rule mandating COVID-19 vaccination for staff at covered Medicare and Medicaid facilities. The vaccination mandate applies to staff "regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact,” but allows for medical and religious exemption. Following SCOTUS’s decision, CMS issued new guidance for their vaccine mandate on Friday.

The new guidance gives medical facilities in the 24 states affected by the SCOTUS decision until February 15, 2022 to ensure their employees receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and March 15, 2022 to ensure full vaccination. For the 25 states who were not involved in the litigation before SCOTUS, facilities have until January 27, 2022, to ensure compliance with first dose requirements and February 28, 2022 for full vaccination. Texas is not required to comply with the vaccine mandate at this time.

Impact on General Dentistry: The CMS rule should not apply to private dental offices but may apply to dentists working in Medicare or Medicaid facilities such as hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, nursing homes, rural health clinics, and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). Dentists with hospital privileges or who work for the Indian Health Service (IHS) will also be impacted.