Biden announced nursing homes must require employee COVID vaccination to get federal Medicare+Medicaid funding

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by NRSKarenRN NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN (Guide) Guide Expert Nurse

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience.

President Biden announced Wednesday he's ordering HHS to require Nursing Homes to have staff vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to be able to participate in Medicare and Medicaid and receive funding from these programs. The new rule will go into effect in late September affecting more than 15,000 nursing homes and 1.3 million workers.

Biden to tie vaccines for nursing home staff to Medicare and Medicaid funding

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Washington — President Biden announced Wednesday he is ordering the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to require nursing homes to have vaccinated staff for them to be able to participate in Medicare and Medicaid and receive funding from the federal programs.

The vaccination requirement will be the first time the federal government has implemented any type of vaccination requirement besides those for federal government employees.  

"More than 130,000 residents in nursing homes have, sadly, over the period of this virus, passed away. At the same time, vaccination rates among nursing home staff significantly trail the rest of the country," the president said from the White House. "The studies show that a highly vaccinated nursing home staff is associated with at least 30% less COVID-19 cases among long-term care residents. With this announcement, I'm using the power of the federal government, as a payer of health care costs, to ensure we reduce those risks to our most vulnerable seniors." ...

 

 

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,585 Posts

Covid illnesses are expensive and vaccines are cheap. 

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,540 Posts

I worry about this. With the availability if vaccines,  if employees wanted them, they've gotten them. So, LTCs will now be even shorter staffed, meaning residents care will be even worse. It's a major concern in my area. Most older staff got it, younger have declined and state that they'll find themselves another career line

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,585 Posts

3 hours ago, Hoosier_RN said:

I worry about this. With the availability if vaccines,  if employees wanted them, they've gotten them. So, LTCs will now be even shorter staffed, meaning residents care will be even worse. It's a major concern in my area. Most older staff got it, younger have declined and state that they'll find themselves another career line

Warm but unvaccinated bodies are not the answer to staff shortages. 

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,540 Posts

6 hours ago, toomuchbaloney said:

Warm but unvaccinated bodies are not the answer to staff shortages. 

No, but having below minimum staffing isn't going to work either. Healthcare is going to have to increase pay and staffing at all levels (staff nurse down to UAP to environmental services to dietary). People will continue to walk, be it from the hospitals, LTCs, LTACHs, clinics, corrections, what have you

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,585 Posts

3 minutes ago, Hoosier_RN said:

No, but having below minimum staffing isn't going to work either. Healthcare is going to have to increase pay and staffing at all levels (staff nurse down to UAP to environmental services to dietary). People will continue to walk, be it from the hospitals, LTCs, LTACHs, clinics, corrections, what have you

Employers will figure it out.  Minimum staffing in bedside nursing has been the business model for American health systems since the 1980s. 

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,540 Posts

20 minutes ago, toomuchbaloney said:

Employers will figure it out.  Minimum staffing in bedside nursing has been the business model for American health systems since the 1980s. 

I know, but I suspect that this will take some below the minimum. Sadly, employers don't care, and won't until sentinel events occur or patients begin to demand better. Then, they (administration) will throw staff under the bus. Until it hits the bottom line and threatens it, nothing will be done about staffing. I've been saying it for years, and things are only getting worse

Sadly I agree with this recommendation. But I also work in a private pay facility. I am the one that does the Covid testing for everybody and we have 43 out of 100 staff not vaccinated. Some of the comments from my vaccinated staff are that they are angry at the unvaccinated staff are not doing what they need to do to help keep people healthy. This mandate will not affect us unless it gives us stuff from other facilities that have to mandate it. vaccinated staff also talk about the ones who are unvaccinated that do get sick or still getting benefits for Covid pay because they’re out so what was the point of getting the vaccination in the first place. We still have too many people thinking that this is just like the flu, it’s not going to affect me, all the ones that are in the hospital are also vaccinated so what’s the point in getting the vaccine. 

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,540 Posts

13 hours ago, Hoosier_RN said:

I know, but I suspect that this will take some below the minimum. Sadly, employers don't care, and won't until sentinel events occur or patients begin to demand better. Then, they (administration) will throw staff under the bus. Until it hits the bottom line and threatens it, nothing will be done about staffing. I've been saying it for years, and things are only getting worse

I wanted to follow up. Since this became the news, all 6 local LTCs have lost more staff. Some nurses and aides, but mostly housekeeping and dietary. They were on the news yesterday talking about needing people, come in. One DON stated she had thought about having nursing staff and CNAs be mandatoried to do those duties, but those staff members threatened to quit as well. Now they're begging for help.. We all understand the reasoning, it doesn't make it hurt any less

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience. 4,423 Posts

I just do not think the patients and vaccinated staff can afford this. Jobs are plentiful so people will move on and it is great to say that ideally everyone would be vaccinated, but not when there is hardly anyone left to do what is needed.  

Big hospital systems can manage the few that leave, but not nursing homes.

 

Peachpit

Peachpit

Has 32 years experience. 113 Posts

I understand his position but...where I live, this is going to only going to create more staffing issues than already exists in the long term care facilities in my area. They barely meet state requirements now.

If some hospitals/faculties allow employees who refuse the flu vaccine to wear an N95 mask continuously while on duty why now extend the same option to those that don't want the covid vaccine? If masks really do protect/lower risk of covid transmission then this gives employees an option and hospitals/facilities keep staff

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,585 Posts

5 hours ago, Peachpit said:

I understand his position but...where I live, this is going to only going to create more staffing issues than already exists in the long term care facilities in my area. They barely meet state requirements now.

If some hospitals/faculties allow employees who refuse the flu vaccine to wear an N95 mask continuously while on duty why now extend the same option to those that don't want the covid vaccine? If masks really do protect/lower risk of covid transmission then this gives employees an option and hospitals/facilities keep staff

Maybe because covid is more contagious and deadly than influenza? They don't allow us to remain unvaccinated against measles either.