Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, a leading industry advocate is offering guidance and templates to assist long-term care medical directors in handling requests for medical exemptions.

Skilled nursing facilities ideally should use a standardized method to evaluate such staff member requests, according to AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. Acceptable medical exemptions listed by AMDA include severe adverse reaction after a previous dose of or component of the vaccine, active myocarditis or COVID-19 infection, and recent treatment with monoclonal antibodies. 

The Supreme Court on Thursday, Jan. 13, upheld a federal COVID-19 vaccination requirement for staff at all U.S. nursing homes and other federally funded healthcare facilities. The rule, announced Nov. 5, had been on hold in half the country for several weeks due to state injunctions. 

In a Monday statement, AMDA suggested how medical exemption forms might allow the most accurate determination of a request’s validity. Medical exemptions should be listed at the top of the form to “eliminate the opportunity for free-texting and/or making a blanket statement that the individual should be exempted,” it said. It also recommended not including the question of religious exemptions, “as that issue is not in the jurisdiction of the medical director,” the organization said.

Exemption forms also should include a time frame for the exemption (even if indefinite or permanent) and a confirmation that the practitioner signing the statement has an ongoing professional relationship with the individual seeking an exemption, and “has not been engaged solely for the purpose of providing the exemption,” AMDA stated.

Templates for documenting the exemptions can be found on AMDA’s website, on the COVID-19 Resource Page, under AMDA Guidance, Resources, and Tools. Look for:

Template No.1:  Nursing Home Request for Medical Exemption from COVID-19 Vaccination

Template No. 2: Template for Staff with Vaccination Exemptions