OIG Adds COVID-19 Vaccination Status of Nursing Home Staff to Work Plan

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

OIG (Office of Inspector General) has just added COVID-19 Vaccination Status of Nursing Home Staff to its work plan.

Residents of long-term care facilities (nursing homes) have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and are disproportionately represented in the number of COVID-19-related deaths in the United States. Data reported by nursing homes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network identified that COVID-19 infections among nursing home residents were higher in nursing homes with lower vaccination coverage among staff. The data also indicates that while nursing homes have made significant progress in vaccinating their residents, approximately one in five nursing home staff were not vaccinated as of the end of 2021. CMS amended Federal regulations at 42 CFR § 483.80 to require that nursing home staff be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The regulations allow nursing homes to grant staff exemptions from the vaccination requirements based on Federal law (e.g., for specific medical and religious reasons). The regulations, among other things, also require nursing homes to track and securely document the vaccination status of staff, exemptions requested, and exemptions granted. The effective date of the regulations varies by State, but all States must be in compliance by March 21, 2022. Through a series of audits, we will determine whether nursing homes nationwide are in compliance with the regulations and identify the COVID-19 vaccination status of their staff members.