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CMS issues final rule lifting COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Patti Cullen, CAE
By Patti Cullen, CAE  |  June 2, 2023  |  All members

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final rule in the Federal Register that withdraws the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for healthcare workers of Medicare- and Medicaid-certified long-term care facilities. The document is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on June 5, 2023. The regulations in this final rule are effective 60 days after publication, or around August 1, 2023. The following is a summary of the final rule:

This final rule removes expired language addressing staff and patient COVID-19 testing requirements for LTC Facilities issued in the interim final rule with comment “Medicare and Medicaid Programs, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” published in the September 2, 2020 Federal Register. The rule also finalizes requirements for these facilities to provide education about COVID-19 vaccines and to offer COVID-19 vaccines to residents, clients, and staff. In addition, the rule withdraws the regulations in the interim final rule with comment (IFC) “Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination” published in the November 5, 2021 Federal Register, and finalizes certain provisions of the “COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for Long-Term Care (LTC) Facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities This document is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on 06/05/2023 and available online at, and on (ICFs-IID) Residents, Clients, and Staff” IFC, published in the May 13, 2021 Federal Register. 

“As conditions and circumstances of the COVID-19 PHE have evolved, so too has CMS’ response,” CMS said in the 82-page final rule. “At this point in time, we believe that the risks targeted by the staff vaccination IFC have been largely addressed, so we are now aligning our approach with those of other infectious diseases, specifically influenza. Accordingly, CMS intends to encourage ongoing COVID-19 vaccination through its quality reporting ad value-based incentive programs in the near future.” 

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) has communicated that "CMS will not be enforcing the staff vaccination provisions between now and the effective date of this final rule."

Patti Cullen, CAE  |  President/CEO  |  |  952-851-2487

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