President Joe Biden yesterday announced that all Nursing Home staff must be vaccinated, or risk losing critical Medicare and Medicaid Funding (this funding accounts for around 80% of Nursing Home care). With margins being so tight for most providers, continuing without funding is really not an option.
We have seen in the recent weeks' providers such as Genesis and Brookdale make their own mandates, but this will be effective nationwide and it is expected to come in to effect in September.
CMS will issue guidance in the coming weeks on how this will be regulated and enforced.
Providers have criticized the move and the lack of scrutiny on other areas of Healthcare. Fears that staff who are against vaccination will move in to other areas of care, making the staffing situation in Nursing Homes worse, is a big concern.
“Vaccination mandates for healthcare personnel should be applied to all healthcare settings. Without this, nursing homes face a disastrous workforce challenge,” said American Health Care Association President and CEO Mark Parkinson in a prepared statement that was echoed by LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan.. “Focusing only on nursing homes will cause vaccine hesitant workers to flee to other healthcare providers and leave many centers without adequate staff to care for residents. It will make an already difficult workforce shortage even worse,” Parkinson added. “The net effect of this action will be the opposite of its intent and will affect the ability to provide quality care to our residents.” Added Sloan: “We are on wartime footing. Defunding the care providers who continue to fight on the frontlines would be a tragic misstep.”