James M. Berklan
James M. Berklan

Maybe there’s something to the saying that if you howl loud and long enough, you’ll get somebody’s attention.

For more than three weeks, nursing homes have been doing just that — howling about the unfair treatment of being solely designated for a staff COVID-19 vaccination mandate by the federal government.

Protests were indeed loud. Righteously so, including from this space.

“CMS needs to finish the job,” I wrote on Aug. 20. “Don’t punch a hole in the bottom of long-term care’s already leaky workforce boat and walk away.” At a minimum, include other healthcare sectors, I directed. 

On Thursday, President Biden did just that, and then some, adding other healthcare providers and tens of millions of other U.S. workers to the “get it done” list.

The challenge has now become how to keep everyone’s boat afloat, not just nursing homes’. That’s how it should be, of course. Public health matters do not exist simply for individuals’ sake, no more than public driving rules mean only those inclined to follow rules need to heed stoplights at busy intersections.

So welcome to the club, much of the rest of the working world. The nursing home Community — writ with large “C”  — is glad to have you join it on the hotseat.

The pandemic is far from over. But it’s no longer just nursing homes’ problem. As if it ever was.

I concluded that column three weeks ago with two pleas for CMS and the implementation plan it had yet to devise: Make it workable and make it fair.

The agency took a giant leap on at least the second part Thursday.

Follow Executive Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.