States sue over COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

Ten states sued the federal authorities Wednesday difficult its mandate for workers at Medicare and Medicaid-participating healthcare amenities to obtain COVID-19 vaccines, saying the requirement will exacerbate workforce shortages.

The lawsuit, filed within the U.S. District Court docket for the Jap District of Missouri, asks the court docket to completely cease the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Providers interim last rule that created the mandate.

Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire predict of their criticism that the mandate will devastate healthcare programs, particularly in rural areas.

“Vaccination necessities are issues that depend upon native elements and situations. No matter would possibly make sense in New York Metropolis, St. Louis, or Omaha may very well be decidedly counterproductive and dangerous in rural communities like Memphis, Missouri or McCook, Nebraska,” the criticism mentioned.

Whereas CMS acknowledged workforce issues in its interim last rule, it mentioned unvaccinated staff may get jobs in healthcare fields not coated below the mandate, like doctor and dental places of work, in response to the lawsuit.

“It doesn’t recommend that the healthcare employee scarcity will disappear however solely that shortages might be additional concentrated among the many healthcare amenities coated by the CMS mandate,” the criticism mentioned.

The lawsuit additionally took problem with CMS’ choice to not let staff select common COVID-19 testing as an alternative of vaccination or choose out in the event that they’ve beforehand had the virus, saying this ignores private liberty issues in addition to workforce issues. That call additionally creates a battle with the Occupational Security and Well being Administration’s associated requirement.

The states declare the rule immediately harms them as a result of it requires state-run healthcare amenities and surveyors to implement the mandate, resulting in elevated enforcement prices.

“But once more, this lawsuit will not be about whether or not folks ought to get vaccinated. As a substitute, it’s about federal overreach and the federal authorities utilizing an unconstitutional mandate to drive front-line healthcare employees to decide on between a vaccination or unemployment,” North Dakota Legal professional Normal Wayne Stenehjem mentioned in an announcement.

The states argue public well being issues, together with vaccine mandates, ought to be regulated by the states. They declare CMS’ rulemaking authority would not enable it to impose such a broad mandate not approved by Congress, and the provisions CMS specified by its personal justification of the rule aren’t adequate. The states additional argue CMS is violating legal guidelines that forestall federal businesses from controlling the choice or tenure of individuals offering well being companies.

Previous to the lawsuit’s submitting, authorized students mentioned CMS’ authority to impose the mandate was fairly concrete. James Hodge, director of the Middle for Public Well being Legislation and Coverage at Arizona State College, told Modern Healthcare last week CMS has the broad means to tie coverage to the receipt of federal funds.

A number of states, together with these suing CMS, have additionally filed lawsuits against the OSHA mandate.

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