Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit nursing homes particularly hard. To reduce the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services amended the infection control requirements for nursing homes to include a requirement for nursing homes to ensure that staff received all of the required COVID-19 vaccine doses (i.e., a single-dose vaccine or all required doses of a multidose vaccine) except for individuals granted an exemption from receiving the vaccine or individuals whose vaccination had to be delayed.
(OIG) objective was to identify the COVID 19 vaccination status of nursing home staff as of the week ended March 27, 2022. This report includes no recommendations. The results of this audit present a snapshot of the COVID-19 vaccination status of nursing home staff nationwide at a specific point in time.”
“As of the week ended March 27, 2022, (OIG) determined for the 1,000 nursing home staff members in our sample that 884 had received the required vaccine doses (506 of these staff members had also received a booster dose); 78 had been granted an exemption from receiving the vaccine based on a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance (religious exemption); 12 were partially vaccinated; 3 had been granted an exemption from receiving the vaccine based on a medical condition (medical exemption); and 3 had applied for an exemption that was being reviewed by a nursing home. For the remaining 20 staff members in our sample, the nursing homes did not provide us with documentation related to the staff members’ vaccination status, or the documentation provided did not clearly identify the staff members’ vaccination status. As a result, (OIG was) not able to determine the vaccination status of these staff members.
On the basis of (OIG) sample results, (OIG) estimated that 91 percent of staff nationwide had received the required vaccine doses, 56 percent of staff nationwide had received a booster dose, and 6 percent of staff nationwide had been granted a religious exemption. (OIG) did not estimate the percentages among the small number of staff members (i.e., 38) in our nationwide sample results who were partially vaccinated, who were granted a medical exemption, who applied for an exemption that was being reviewed, or for whom the vaccination status could not be determined.
In addition, the estimated percentages of staff who received the required vaccine doses, staff who received a booster dose, and staff who were granted a religious exemption varied depending on the locations (i.e., Department of Health and Human Services regions) of the nursing homes in which they worked.”