Great news for DME providers and suppliers, on December 7, 2021, a federal judge in Georgia temporarily halted the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all federal contractors across the country! You can read the release here.
This halt follows the December 1, 2021, federal courts injunction against the September 9 Executive Order that required healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (with two doses) by January 4, 2022. Thank you to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who chose to appeal the vaccination requirement to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
If the appeal and injunction didn’t occur, any healthcare worker who didn’t meet the vaccination requirements would have been likely penalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) auditors. The consequences could have included removal from Medicare and Medicaid programs.
The Court Ruling
The courts received two lawsuits from several states fighting against the vaccine requirement. Judge Terry A. Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana responded to the one lawsuit with his court injunction. Judge Doughty explained in the Memorandum Ruling that the government defendants didn’t have the authority to carry out the mandate from CMS. Additionally, he commented that CMS exceeded its power with this regulation.
Judge Matthew T. Schelp of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri chose to block the mandate from going into effect in the ten states that filed the lawsuit. In the Memorandum and Order, he said CMS’s mandate would prevent healthcare facilities from providing patients with the proper care to save lives.
What to Expect in 2022?
Although the injunction paused the mandate, the case will still be heard in court. After the official ruling is made, an appeal will most likely occur, which means the vaccination requirement could potentially go back into effect.
Thank you, Healthcare Financial Management Association, for providing us with the latest information regarding this topic.
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