BREAKING: Mandatory COVID Vaccine Requirements Likely Coming for EMS

BREAKING NEWS

President’s COVID-19 Action Plan Likely to Require Mandatory Vaccinations for EMS Agencies
On September 9, 2021, the White House issued Path Out of the Pandemic – President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan, announcing a new six-pronged approach to combat COVID-19.  The Action Plan will require agencies that participate in Federal healthcare programs – such as Medicare – to mandate COVID vaccination for all staff, with limited exceptions.  This will likely include EMS.

Broad Vaccination Mandate:
Under the first prong, “vaccinating the unvaccinated,” President Biden will be issuing five requirements – establishing a broad federal “vaccination mandate”.  These include:

  1. Requiring all employers with 100+ Employees to ensure workers are vaccinated or tested weekly;
  2. Requiring vaccinations for all Federal Workers and for Millions of Contractors that do business with the Federal government;
  3. Requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for Over 17 Million Health Care Workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and other settings;
  4. Calling on large entertainment venues to require proof of Vaccination or testing; and
  5. Requiring Employers to Provide Paid Time Off to get Vaccinated.

What it Means for EMS

Larger EMS Employers.  The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to “ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.  The White House indicates that OSHA will issue an ETS to implement this requirement, and that it will impact over 80 million workers in private sector businesses with 100 or more employees.

  • EMS Federal Contractors. The President signed a new Executive Order that extends the Federal employee mandatory vaccine requirement to “all employees of all contractors that do business with the federal government.”  This Order is expected to require that employees who work on or in connection with certain government contracts be vaccinated, regardless of whether they work on Federal property.  This requirement will likely be limited to EMS agencies with Federal contracts.
  • Medicare and Medicaid Pariticipating EMS Providers (and Suppliers). The requirement that will likely affect EMS agencies the most is the requirement that expands vaccination and testing mandates to virtually all healthcare providers who receive reimbursement under Federal health programs.  CMS issued a press release, Biden-Harris Administration to Expand Vaccination Requirements for Health Care Settings, stating: “CMS is using its authority to establish vaccine requirements for all providers and suppliers that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

Although not specifically mentioned in the CMS press release, PWW believes it is very likely that the Healthcare Provider requirement, when issued by CMS, will include EMS agencies.  CMS indicated that it is developing an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period on the healthcare setting vaccination requirement will be issued in October 2021.

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