The U.S. Supreme Court today allowed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services vaccine mandate to go into effect nationwide while blocking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine requirements from taking effect. The Court ruled 5-4 in allowing the CMS vaccine mandate to go into effect and 6-3 in blocking the OSHA mandates.
AHA members will receive a Special Bulletin with more details, and watch for a blog post soon from Sean Marotta, a partner at Hogan Lovells and AHA outside counsel that will be available here.
In a statement shared with the media today, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said, “For two long years, the dedicated women and men of America’s hospitals and health systems have experienced firsthand the overwhelming impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has been frustrating, exhausting, and heartbreaking. The COVID-19 vaccines have been a ray of light because they greatly decrease the chances of contracting COVID-19, becoming severely sick, being hospitalized, or dying.
“That is why the AHA has consistently urged all health care workers to be vaccinated and supports hospitals and health systems that require them for their workforce to better protect them, their patients and the communities they care for. We also recognize that a vaccine requirement has the potential to create additional workforce staffing issues, at a time when our workforce is already exhausted by the many demands of COVID-19.
“Now that the Supreme Court ruling has lifted the ban on the CMS vaccine mandate, the AHA will work with the hospital field to find ways to comply that balances that requirement with the need to retain a sufficient workforce to meet the needs of their patients. We appreciate the recent guidance that extended the compliance deadline and offered enforcement discretion. We expect CMS to honor those commitments and continue to work closely with us to ensure that compliance is measured in a thoughtful and careful way that recognizes current circumstances.
“In addition, we expect the Administration to continue to work with us by providing the funding and other resources needed to pursue aggressive and creative strategies to bolster the health care workforce. Without further support, hospitals and health systems will continue to struggle to maintain the workforce necessary to battle the virus while also maintaining the essential health services that patients and communities depend on each day.
“Lastly, we urge any health care providers that are not subject to the CMS requirement to continue their efforts to achieve high levels of vaccination. We must continue to work together as a field to use vaccines as the powerful tool that they are to protect everyone in our communities.”