Nursing Home Staff Vaccination Rates Vary Widely by State as Vaccination Mandates Take Effect 

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

This blog title is the same as the title of a February 17, 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation data noteIt is an interesting read, to be sure.

“This data note presents completed vaccination and booster rates among nursing home staff, by state. This analysis does not categorize states or facilities by compliance since deadlines for all states have not passed and facility-level data is lagged. This analysis presents data on completed vaccinations at the state-level rather than at the facility-level, though this policy will be enforced at the facility-level. Future analyses will evaluate the share of facilities in each state in compliance with the rule once compliance deadlines for both doses have passed.”

The article provides a great deal of information, including booster rates and a breakdown by deadlines.

“The rule, which was issued as interim final, may also be revised as CMS reviews public comments before issuing a final rule. As the various deadlines pass, nursing homes could be subject to enforcement of this rule through a number of mechanisms, including civil monetary penalties, denial of payments, and termination of participation from the Medicare and Medicaid programs. CMS guidance emphasizes that their “primary goal is to bring health care facilities into compliance” and  termination would likely occur “only after providing a facility with an opportunity to make corrections and come into compliance.” When issuing the rule, CMS acknowledged that some staff may leave their jobs because they do not want to receive the vaccine but cited examples of vaccine mandates adopted by health systems in Texas and Detroit and a long-term care parent corporation with 250 facilities as well as the New York state health care worker mandate, all of which resulted in high rates of compliance and few employee resignations. As with other Medicare and Medicaid federal provider requirements, state surveyors will have primary responsibility for enforcing the rule as part of routine inspections. However, CMS has notified states that it may reduce the amount of federal money that states receive to support facility oversight and redirect those funds to support federal oversight activities if states do not include facility compliance with all federal requirements in their oversight.”