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CMS to mandate ASC employees get COVID-19 vaccine or risk losing payment

CMS plans to require ASCs, along with all other healthcare providers, to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for staff as a condition of participating in Medicare.

The agency issued emergency regulations mandating vaccination for nursing home workers Aug. 18 and expanded the regulations to include hospitals, ASCs, dialysis facilities and home health agencies Sept. 9. CMS is expected to issue an interim final with additional details on the vaccination mandate in October, followed by a comment period.

"We know that those working in healthcare want to do what is best for their patients in order to keep them safe," Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, CMS administrator, said in a statement. "As the delta variant continues to spread, we know the best defense against it lies with the COVID-19 vaccine. Data shows that the higher the level of vaccination rates among providers and staff, the lower the infection rate is among patients who are dependent upon them for care. Now is the time to act."

The statement from CMS urges all Medicare-certified ASCs and healthcare facilities to prepare for its new COVID-19 vaccine requirements and have unvaccinated employees begin the vaccination process immediately.

CMS made the announcement in tandem with President Joe Biden's Sept. 9 speech, where he announced an emergency rule requiring all companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations or have unvaccinated workers test negative for COVID-19 at least once per week, according to The New York Times.

Read more about President Biden's new plan to combat COVID-19 and the delta variant here.

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