Last week the Supreme Court upheld a CMS mandate that health care workers at facilities covered by CMS must be fully vaccinated or receive an approved medical or religious exemption by February 28, 2022, recognizing that CMS has long been allowed to set standards for its covered facilities “necessary in the interest of the health and safety of individuals” cared for at those facilities. This makes sense when you consider the universal risk posed for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, inherently vulnerable populations, seeking care at crowded health facilities. At the same time, the court overturned a similar broad Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) vaccine-or-test mandate, citing lack of precedent of OSHA instituting any “broad public health regulation of this kind—addressing a threat that is untethered, in any causal sense, from the workplace.” In other words, each workplace and locale carries with it a different level of risk. The court emphasized that despite this ruling, on a more micro-scale where COVID-19 “poses a special danger because of the particular features of an employee’s job or workplace, target regulations are plainly permissible.” So, individual workplaces do not have to institute such regulations across the country but can if they choose to. | Marotta, American Hospital Association 2022


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