Multiple Injunctions Block CMS Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Regulation

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP 
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

Confused? Concerned? Don’t know what to make of the news? Don’t know what to do about compliance with recent injunctions involving vaccination of staff? You’re in good company – our heads are all spinning.

Here’s the skinny on what’s happening – at this point in time.

Multiple injunctions filed in multiple states have halted CMS from enforcing CMS-3415-IFC after publication in the Federal Register on November 5, 2021. (OSHA’s ETS – a complimentary regulation that applies to employers with 100 or more employees, also published in the Federal Register on November 5, 2021 – has also met the same fate. Click hereto see that information.) The latest happened yesterday, also in Louisiana, temporarily blocked CMS from enforcing its vaccination mandate for healthcare workers until legal challenges are resolved.[1]  A Federal judge in Missouri granted an injunction filed by 10 states the day before on November 29, 2021.[2]   

So, what’s a LTC facility to do while this drama plays out in courtrooms, perhaps even the Supreme Court? Nursing homes are trying to keep residents, staff and overall communities alive and well in addition to encouraging vaccination – trying to keep their doors open! 

Absent any statement from CMS, HHS or the White House at the time this blog was posted, here’s my best advice:

  • Keep taking the absolute best care of every resident and every staff member in your facility.
  • Follow all infection prevention and control policies, especially hand hygiene, masking, proper and consistent use of PPE – all the things you’ve been doing since March 2020. Don’t let your guard down now. Your life and the lives of others you care/live with for depend on your vigilance.
  • Continue efforts to encourage and promote vaccination and boosters of residents, staff, visitors, friends and family. We will all be dealing with increases in influenza cases and COVID-19 illness and watching for the appearance of the Omicron variant in our country.
  • Follow the guidance (aka regulations) found in QSO-20-39-NH … Nursing Home Visitation – COVID-19 (REVISED 11/12/21).  Briggs has developed a policy and procedure for visitation during the PHE based on this revised regulation. That policy and procedure as well as several updates to our Operational Guidelines for LTC (#7480#7480E) will be available to purchasers and provided to subscribers next week.
  • Please take good care of yourself and your family!  You can’t support or help others if you’re not well, physically or mentally. Take time to take care of you. You’re important to a lot of people.