CMS interim final rule on COVID-19 health care staff vaccination
Beginning Jan. 27, 2022, for applicable deemed program surveys in progress on that day, The Joint Commission will begin surveying to the “Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination” interim final rule published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Nov. 5, 2021 Federal Register. Further guidance was published by CMS on Dec. 28, 2021. This rule affects the following Joint Commission deemed programs: Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Critical Access Hospitals, Hospitals, Home Care, Home Infusion Therapy, and Hospice.
On Jan. 27, the COVID-19 staff vaccination requirements will be in effect in the following states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, along with the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Jan. 13, health care organizations in the 24 states that were not previously subject to the “Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination” rule now are. Additionally, health care organizations in these 24 states need to demonstrate compliance utilizing the phased-in approach per the timelines (that begin Feb. 14, 2022) specified in the CMS memorandum issued Jan. 14. Therefore, beginning Feb. 14, surveyors will begin surveying to the vaccination requirements for these 24 states as follows: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Changes to Joint Commission accreditation requirements for the affected deemed programs are under review, and accredited organizations will be notified of any changes via Joint Commission Perspectives. In the interim, for any findings related to the regulatory requirements for COVID-19 staff vaccination, The Joint Commission will score Leadership (LD) Standard LD.04.01.01, element of performance (EP) 2: The organization provides care, treatment, and services in accordance with licensure requirements, laws, and rules and regulations, along with the applicable Medicare conditions of participation/conditions for coverage.
The Joint Commission has published FAQs regarding the new vaccination requirements.