New Regulations to Require Staff Vaccinations at Nursing Homes

Comagine Health / August 18, 2021

New regulations will be developed that require staff members of nursing homes be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, President Joe Biden announced Wednesday.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the regulation would affect more than 15,000 facilities in the country. About 1.3 million workers are employed by these nursing homes.

“Keeping nursing home residents and staff safe is our priority. The data are clear that higher levels of staff vaccination are linked to fewer outbreaks among residents, many of whom are at an increased risk of infection, hospitalization or death,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. 

As of Aug. 8, about 62% of nursing home staff were vaccinated, and vaccination among staff at the state level ranges from a high of 88% to a low of 44%. With the emergence of the COVID-19 delta variant, case rates among nursing home residents have gone from 319 cases on June 27 to 2,696 cases on Aug. 8. According to CMS, many recent outbreaks are occurring in facilities in areas of the country with low staff vaccination rates.

press release from CMS states the agency expects to issue the new guidelines in September.

The new nursing home regulation was one of several actions Biden announced Wednesday regarding the fight against COVID-19.