On Monday, November 29th, a federal district court in Missouri granted an injunction against the Biden Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (the “CMS”) federal vaccine mandate, which was to apply only to Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities (i.e., all facilities over which the CMS has regulatory authority and are therefore subject to the CMS’s health and safety regulations). Consequently, if your medical practice or facility is not subject to the CMS’s health and safety regulations, then the CMS vaccine mandate does not apply to your facility. This means, by way of example, that the mandate generally does not apply to physician’s offices. As a result, the CMS vaccine mandate is now on hold in the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. So, if you have a health care facility that is in one of those states that is Medicare- and Medicaid-certified and subject to the CMS’s health and safety regulations, then you can now, at least according to federal law, put on hold your efforts to comply.
Note that there is another lawsuit that has been brought in federal court in Louisiana by the following states: Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia. There is no word yet on whether the injunction requested in that lawsuit will be granted or not. There is currently a hearing in the matter set for December 3rd. There is no way of knowing whether the court will make an oral ruling immediately or take the time to provide a written ruling, as was the case in the Missouri lawsuit. Accordingly, until we hear otherwise, if you have a health care facility (outside of the 10 states listed above in the first paragraph) that is subject to the CMS mandate (i.e., Medicare- and Medicaid-certified and subject to the CMS’s health and safety regulations), then you will need to continue to proceed as if the mandate will go into effect (first shots by December 5th, and ensuring that all necessary employees are vaccinated by January 4, 2022). In the meantime, RMI will keep you posted regarding further developments.