There is no question that staff in any health care setting who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health. That is why it is imperative for health care providers to ensure their staff are vaccinated against COVID-19. — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
There is no question that staff in any health care setting who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health. That is why it is imperative for health care providers to ensure their staff are vaccinated against COVID-19. — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

It’s critical to us to make sure we’re ensuring the safety of residents living in nursing homes and other individuals in health care settings. — Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator for Medicare
It’s critical to us to make sure we’re ensuring the safety of residents living in nursing homes and other individuals in health care settings. — Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator for Medicare

States Sue U.S. Over Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers.
Ten states filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to block the Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers, on the heels of a court decision that temporarily halted the broader U.S. requirement that workers of all large employers be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing.

The new suit, filed in U.S. District Court in eastern Missouri, claims the rule issued last week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services “threatens with job loss millions of health care workers who risked their lives in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic to care for strangers and friends in their communities.”

The 10 states also argue the rule “threatens to exacerbate an alarming shortage of health care workers, particularly in rural communities, that has already reached a boiling point.” They say any further losses will only endanger patients, causing “devastating adverse effects on health care services.”

But the broader point echoes a separate lawsuit brought by many of the same Republican-led states against the private-employer mandate for those with 100 workers or more, contending that OSHA does not have the authority to dictate such policy.

... Federal officials said they could not comment on pending litigation. CMS did release a statement defending the mandates.

“There is no question that staff in any health care setting who remain unvaccinated pose both direct and indirect threats to patient safety and population health,” the agency said. “That is why it is imperative for health care providers to ensure their staff are vaccinated against COVID-19.”

But legal experts said the agency generally has the ability to establish rules governing the organizations it pays to deliver care. “C.M.S. has very broad authority to regulate Medicare-certified providers,” said Katrina A. Pagonis, a lawyer specializing in regulatory issues for Hooper, Lundy & Bookman.

The rule “is essentially a condition of participation” in federally funded programs, said Erin J. McLaughlin, a health care lawyer for Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney. The government invoked the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution to pre-empt state and local laws when issuing the rule.


President Biden’s call for mandates followed months of pandemic outbreaks as the Delta variant threatened regions of the country, some with low vaccination rates but also others with vulnerable populations like those in nursing homes that had just begun to recover from the devastating death toll of 2020.

... “It’s critical to us to make sure we’re ensuring the safety of residents living in nursing homes and other individuals in health care settings,” said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator for Medicare, in an interview after the agency issued the new rule. Vaccinated staff members are less likely to get sick and spread Covid, she said.

Ms. Brooks-LaSure acknowledged providers’ concerns over losing workers who refuse to be vaccinated, but she said mandates often ease shortages because employees don’t become infected. “What we’re seeing on the ground is that they are not going to work because they are sick,” she said.

She also cited the experience in states that have issued requirements as evidence that vaccination rates will rise as a result of the government’s decision. Many large hospital systems and even city agencies that mandated the vaccine reported that only a small minority of employees were unwilling to be vaccinated.
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/10/health/vaccine-mandate-state-lawsuit.html