COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Nursing Home Workers, non-compliant facilities will lose federal Medicare and Medicaid funding.

According to the Associated Press, the Biden administration has announced an emergency regulation requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all nursing home staff if facilities hope to continue to receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding. President Biden’s new mandate, currently in development with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and expected to take effect as early as September, comes on the heels of similar state mandates taking stringent measures to impel the hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated nursing home workers across the country to get their shots.

Despite various incentives to persuade reluctant nursing home staff to get vaccinated, vaccine hesitance has persisted among many nursing home workers across the country, even as the highly-contagious Delta variant spreads through regions of the country with lower vaccination rates. According to an article from the New York Times, the vaccination rates among nursing home staff has reached only about 60 percent, with some states reporting rates below 50 percent. Earlier this month, the growing number of residents and staff being infected with COVID led to calls for vaccine mandates for nursing home staff, particularly in light of exceptionally vulnerable elderly nursing home residents, who, even if vaccinated, are more susceptible to breakthrough infections.

While the nursing home industry remained unwilling to mandate vaccines, throughout the month of August COVID-19 vaccine mandate for nursing home workers announced in various states, including staff working at New Jersey and Pennsylvania nursing homes:

  • N.J. Nursing Home Workers: According to New Jersey Spotlight, on August 2 Gov. Phil Murphy announced a new state policy wherein by September 7 workers at state and private health care facilities, including New Jersey nursing homes and long-term care facilities, would need to be vaccinated or must submit to once or twice weekly COVID testing.
  • PA Nursing Home Workers: According to the Bucks County Courier Times, on August 12 the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced a new guidance requiring at least 80 percent of PA nursing home staff to be vaccinated by October 1 or be subjected to heightened testing requirements.

CNN suggests that the recent approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the FDA could lead to even more vaccination mandates.

Keeping Your Loved One Safe in Uncertain Times

Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing homes are at all times required to secure the physical, mental, and psycho/social well-being of their residents by meeting certain health and safety requirements and providing adequate care. To meet these standards, the Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home where your loved one lives must be equipped to avoid the kind of substandard care that amounts to nursing home neglect or abuse. This includes ensuring adequate, quality staffing. Should you have concerns about a Pennsylvania or New Jersey nursing home during COVID-19, or if you suspect neglect, abuse, or fraud has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.