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COVID Requirements for Healthcare Workers Who Treat Medicare Beneficiaries


Senior citizens and healthcare workers have remained a top priority since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. As the U.S approaches two years since its first case, Congress continues to pass laws to protect elderly people. Keep reading to learn about the federal health regulations in place for healthcare providers.

CMS COVID Guidelines for 2022

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is striving to safeguard patients and healthcare staff from contracting COVID-19. When the pandemic began, Medicare officials moved swiftly to ensure beneficiaries had access to testing and treatment. Today, the program has made coverage changes to increase patient access to care.

This fall, CMS issued an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period. This ordinance ensures that residents and staff working in long-term facilities will test for the virus frequently.

In September, the Biden-Harris Administration widened vaccination requirements in health care. This includes hospitals, dialysis facilities, homes offering medical care, and more. Nearly 17 million employees working at Medicare or Medicaid-funded health facilities must get the shot.

Under the mandate, facilities with over 100 employees must follow strict guidelines. This means regular weekly testing among staff if they’re not already fully vaccinated. This new ordinance could affect 50,000 providers nationwide.

COVID Vaccination Rates Among Medicare Beneficiaries

Despite a nationwide decline in COVID cases, residents living in long-term nursing homes remain at high risk. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services studied Medicare data from January through May.

The 2021 federal report shows roughly 50,000 Medicare enrollees survived the coronavirus this year because of the vaccine. According to the report, 68% of beneficiaries 65 and older got the vaccine by the end of May.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the report in terms of deaths, hospitalizations, and infections.

  • 265,000 infections prevented
  • 107,000 hospitalizations recorded
  • 39,000 deaths prevented

In October, the White House announced plans to boost the availability of rapid at-home coronavirus tests by the end of the year.

Healthcare Providers Protest the Vaccine

Currently, over 80% of healthcare workers are vaccinated, according to Gallup, Inc. In response to the vaccine mandate, thousands of health personnel have quit or have threatened to leave their jobs. Within the past year and a half, hundreds of thousands of staff protested the vaccine and safety issues revolving around the handling of the virus. Right now, the controversy surrounding religious exemptions continues to divide politicians, religious leaders, and health care, professionals. 

FAQs

Are health care workers who treat Medicare beneficiaries required to get the COVID vaccine?
All U.S healthcare workers must get the vaccine as reports reveal the delta variant is more transmissible.
At what facilities does CMS require health care workers to get the COVID-19  vaccine?
In most cases, healthcare workers working at facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding must get the vaccine. CMS and the CDC are working together to keep all nursing home staff safe.
What are the COVID-19 vaccination rates for health care workers?
The American College of Physicians states vaccination rates often fluctuate. The journal reports 96% of physicians, 55% of nursing home staff, and only 1 out of every 4 home health aides got the vaccine.

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

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