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CMS Requires Health Care Providers to be Vaccinated

On Nov. 4, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued rules requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for workers at facilities participating in Medicare — including hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. The rules do not apply to physician offices (unless part of a larger system) because they are not subject to CMS health and safety regulations. The vaccination requirements apply to all eligible staff, both current and new, working at a facility regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact, including:

  • Facility employees
  • Licensed practitioners
  • Students
  • Trainees
  • Volunteers
  • Contracted staff

Under the rules, covered facilities must have a process or plan for:

  • Vaccinating all eligible staff;
  • Providing exemptions and accommodations for those who are exempt; and
  • Tracking and documenting staff vaccinations.

All eligible staff must receive their first dose or a one-dose vaccine by Dec. 5 and be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022.