Top 15 Things to Know About Vaccinating Staff

COVID-19 Vaccination Federal Mandate for Staff

COVID-19 has certainly taken taking its toll on the nursing home industry where staffing was a challenge even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent directive by the federal government that is mandating that all employees of skilled nursing facilities to be COVID-19 vaccinated on or about October 18th, 2021, (the estimated last day for final COVID-19 Vaccine shot on October 4, 2021) further compounds the staffing crisis and could result in significant negative ramifications to the clinical, financial, and operational performance of nursing facilities.

This new federal mandate comes shortly after the May 11th, 2021 regulation requiring nursing homes to report weekly the status of completed COVID-19 vaccinations for both residents and staff to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN).

“On May 11, 2021, the administration requires LTC facilities to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination status data for both residents and staff. The new vaccination reporting requirement will not only assist in monitoring uptake amongst residents and staff but will also aid in identifying facilities that may need additional resources and/or assistance to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.” CMS Press Release

“On August 18, 2021, the administration said nursing homes must vaccinate their staff against COVID-19 if they want to continue receiving federal funding.” CMS Press Release

On August 20th, 2021, Mark Parkinson, the President and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), made the following statement regarding the Federal requirement that nursing home staff must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in a forthcoming regulation:

“We appreciate the administration’s efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in long term care. Unfortunately, this action does not go far enough. The government should not single out one provider group for mandatory vaccinations. Vaccination mandates for health care personnel should be applied to all health care settings. Without this, nursing homes face a disastrous workforce challenge.

“Focusing only on nursing homes will cause COVID-19 vaccine-hesitant workers to flee to other health care providers and leave many centers without adequate staff to care for residents. It will make an already difficult workforce shortage even worse. The net effect of this action will be the opposite of its intent and will affect the ability to provide quality care to our residents. We look forward to working with the administration in the coming days to develop solutions to overcome this challenge.”

Advocates and lobbyists across the United States are requesting that States implement regulations that do not exclusively direct the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff solely at nursing homes, but instead, apply a regulation that covers all health care workers regardless of the healthcare setting.

States have already adopted this global concept including, Maine, Maryland, New York, California, and Rhode Island.

(Reminder: If a state regulation is different from a federal regulation, apply the more stringent regulation.)

Currently, approximately 62% of workers in the nursing home industry are vaccinated.

The fear of a greater staffing crisis is real. In order to help skilled nursing operators effectively implement the mandated COVID-19 vaccination requirements, Download and read the complete HHI article, COVID-19 Vaccination Federal Mandate for Staff.  It provides the top 15 things providers need to know about COVID-19 vaccination of persons entering the nursing home.

Download the resources referenced in the article below.

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