Skip to content

CMS Withdraws COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

CMS Withdraws COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

Medicare Medicaid

Courtesy of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final rule ending COVID-19 vaccination requirements for health care providers. Based on the information provided by the CMS Quality and Safety Oversight Group in a memo dated May 1, 2023, CMS' decision to end vaccination requirements was expected.

CMS addressed three separate interim final rules with comment period (IFC) related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE).

The final rule removes expired language addressing staff and patient COVID-19 testing requirements in long-term care facilities issued in the IFC, “Medicare and Medicaid Programs, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency”, published in the Federal Register on September 2, 2020.

In addition, the final rule withdraws the regulations in the IFC “Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination”, published in the Federal Register on November 5, 2021. CMS also finalized certain provisions of the IFC “COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for Long-Term Care (LTC) Facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs-IID) Residents, Clients, and Staff”, which was published in the Federal Register on May 13, 2021. The withdrawal of these regulations impacts many health care providers under Medicare, including home health agencies. The rule removes in its entirety the standards for “COVID–19 Vaccination of Home Health Agency Staff” and "COVID–19 Vaccination of Facility Staff” in §484.70(d) and §418.60(d), respectively, from the Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs).

While CMS notes that rules generally become effective 60 days after publication, COVID-19 PHE expired on May 11, 2023. In this final rule, the omnibus facility staff vaccination requirements have been terminated because the emergency circumstances that led to these vaccination provisions no longer exist. Therefore, CMS will not enforce the staff vaccination provisions between now and the effective date, which is 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register (June 5, 2023).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is considering adopting, through the rulemaking process, COVID-19 vaccination measures for use in certain Medicare quality programs. CMS published the measures in its Measures Under Consideration list on December 1, 2022 (see Table 1 1 in the rule here). These quality measures may ultimately impact ratings on the various "Compare" websites and may affect payments in various value-based purchasing programs, but would not affect the ability of the provider or supplier to participate in Medicare.

Powered By GrowthZone