Providers blindsided by CMS vaccine rule

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Providers are up in arms about federal health officials' new rule mandating flu and pneumonia vaccinations for all nursing home residents.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services blindsided providers with the issuance of a rule, and then the agency gave it only a 15-day comment period (ending Aug. 30) to steamroll the process through, nursing home advocates said.
"The rules just add a documentation burden," said Janice Zalen, senior director of special programs for the American Health Care Association.
It will be up to facilities to determine whether residents are up to date in their vaccinations, a potential research and documentation nightmare, Zalen said. Failure to follow the rule could lead to termination from Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Ironically, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Mark McClellan praised the input of nursing home association leaders in the creation of the rule.
But Zalen said nothing as rigid as a new rule came up in her discussions with officials.
For more on infection control see "Infection Control Feature."