Biden said he is directing the Department of Health and Human Services to draw up new regulations making employee vaccination a condition for nursing homes to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The decision on nursing home staff represents a significant escalation in Biden’s campaign to get Americans vaccinated and the tools he is willing to use, marking the first time he has threatened to withhold federal funds in order to get people vaccinated.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid will issue an emergency regulation in September, making staff vaccination a condition of funding.
A nursing home industry group, however, said imposing a mandate only on such facilities could cause a “disastrous workforce challenge,” instead arguing all health care workers in all settings should be subject to the requirement.
“Focusing only on nursing homes will cause vaccine-hesitant workers to flee to other health care providers and leave many centers without adequate staff to care for residents. It will make an already difficult workforce shortage even worse,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, which represents 14,000 facilities. “The net effect of this action will be the opposite of its intent and will affect the ability to provide quality care to our residents.”
All of this news come amid the booster shots being made available in September..
The booster shot-plan, which applies only to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, calls for Americans to get a booster shot eight months after receiving their second doses.
There are expectations that a booster shot will be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but they are still reviewing data and will announce plans at a later date.