President Joe Biden triggered broad dissent among the nursing home industry when he announced Aug. 18 that facilities would lose their Medicare and Medicaid funding if employees were not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Regulators said detailed guidance on the rule’s logistics would be issued in September.
Provider lobbyists and many facility leaders immediately protested, claiming that employees would flee to other healthcare sectors that aren’t subject to similar mandates, worsening existing staffing shortages.
Some operators had already announced their own vaccination mandates, setting the stage for showdowns as early as Aug. 23, when Genesis HealthCare’s self-imposed “universal” requirement kicked in.
As of early August, 62% of nursing home staff nationwide were vaccinated.
An industry survey in June revealed 94% of providers were already reporting worker shortages, heightening anxieties over increasingly strident calls for mandates.