21 states and District of Columbia are included have already mandated vaccines for health care workers, six — Texas, Montana, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia — implemented bans that prohibited some employers from requiring vaccines. 18 states had no requirements for health care workers while five, including Arizona and Michigan, exempted these organizations from vaccine bans.
The Supreme Court ruling covered two dozen states that had been the subject of federal injunctions that prohibited the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from imposing a mandate. The requirement will affect approximately 10 million workers at 76,000 health-care facilities, including hospitals and long term care facilities.
Gov. Ron DeSantis called the new federal policy “insane” at a news conference on Thursday. The state’s Agency for Health Care Administration also indicated it would not survey health care facilities about compliance of the vaccine mandate. On Friday, Mr. DeSantis reiterated his position, posting on Twitter that Florida will reject federal mandates, “which are rooted in political, not medical science.”
Still, federal laws ordinarily displace, or “pre-empt,” contrary state and local ones, and in allowing the mandate for health care workers, the Supreme Court at least implicitly ruled that it overrode state laws banning vaccination requirements at facilities participating in the Medicaid and Medicare programs.
Some hospitals have started to require vaccinations for workers not eligible for religious or medical exemptions because they fear losing federal funding.
“If we do not comply with the CMS mandate, we could compromise our ability to serve our communities and provide care to patients under the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” a spokesman for HCA said in a statement. The system employs around 275,000 workers.
Federal officials indicated that they would cooperate with hospitals and nursing homes to ensure workers can be vaccinated. Federal funds are rarely revoked by regulators. Many people argue that funding cuts are still possible. “Why risk losing Medicare, which is your life line?” asked Mark Neuberger, a lawyer with Foley & Lardner who advises health care organizations on employment issues. Other hospital groups, such as the Cleveland Clinic, have also stated that they plan to comply. According to the clinic, approximately 85 percent of its employees had been vaccinated.
Source: NY Times