Nursing homes and other healthcare providers will be shifting into high gear in the coming days and weeks to try to figure out how to comply with the vaccine mandate unblocked by the Supreme Court Thursday.
Of particular interest will be how long providers in states that were shielded by temporary injunctions until Thursday will have to come into compliance.
In a Dec. 28 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services memo guiding compliance in 25 states not covered by the injunctions, the agency laid out new deadlines and targets for the mandate. Workers must have at least one shot by Jan. 27, and a second shot (if applicable) by Feb. 28.
CMS said Thursday night the ruling did not change the compliance timelines for providers in those states. It said healthcare providers in states covered by the decision will now need to establish plans and procedures to ensure their staff are vaccinated and to have their employees receive at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
It was unclear, however, how or when CMS would extend its existing guidance to remaining states.
Those that were shielded by the temporary injunctions were: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Some experts believe it is possible that a delay similar to the one put into place by the interim final rule for previously unaffected states could be brought into play for those remaining. That amounted to an approximate 10-week delay in implementation dates. Providers will be looking for answers from federal and state authorities.