On Sept. 9, 2021, the White House issued the Path Out of the Pandemic COVID-19 Action Plan. On the same day, CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced changes to emergency regulations impacting vaccination requirements.
Several provisions in these new legislative changes will impact emergency medical services (EMS) and ambulance agencies.
CMS will expand vaccination requirements from only nursing home workers to now include workers in hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings and home health agencies, among others, as a condition for participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The decision was based on the continued and growing spread of the virus in health care settings, especially in parts of the United States with higher incidence of COVID-19. CMS will issue an interim final rule with comment period in October. These changes will require EMS agencies that participate in federal health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid to mandate vaccination for all staff, with limited exceptions.
OSHA will require all employers with 100 or more employees to “ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.” The agency will likely issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to implement this requirement.