Supreme Court Rejects OSHA ETS, Upholds CMS Vaccination Mandate

What Does This Mean For EMS?OSHA ETS: EMS agencies with 100 or more employees are not required to institute vaccination or “test and mask” policies that the ETS would have required. Of course, EMS agencies may implement mandatory vaccination policies if they wish regardless of this OSHA ETS and are still subject to OSHA’s general duty to provide a safe workplace and to adhere to the other health care related standards applicable to many EMS agencies.  CMS Vaccination Mandate: Hospitals and other facilities covered by the rule will now be required to ensure that all employees and “individuals who provide care, treatment or other services” for the facility “under contract or other arrangement” are fully vaccinated or properly meet a religious or medical exemption. While the CMS vaccine does not directly apply to EMS agencies, your agency may soon be asked by these facilities to ensure that EMS agency employees entering those facilities are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 or meet one of the exemptions. PWW believes that this requirement should not apply to EMS agency personnel entering covered facilities for 911 emergency responses.   The Cases
  • Biden v. Missouri challenged the interim final rule issued by CMS which requires the COVID-19 vaccine for certain health care workers at hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. EMS agencies are not directly included in the CMS vaccination mandate, but facilities that are covered by it may require ambulance service personnel entering those facilities to be vaccinated.     
  • National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor challenged the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that their employees are fully vaccinated or undergo regular testing and wear a face covering at work. This ETS would have only applied to larger EMS agencies and when issued, would not have included patient care personnel who would have been covered under the OSHA Health Care ETS issued in June 2021, which expired on December 27, 2021.
The Opinions
  • In Biden v. Missouri, the Supreme Court decided not to block CMS’s vaccine mandate and it lifted the preliminary injunction that was applicable to 25 states. Essentially this allows CMS to begin enforcement of the vaccination mandate nationwide. CMS recently issued guidance indicating that it would begin monitoring and enforcement of the rule on January 27, 2022, for those states that were not covered by the injunction. 
  • In National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, the Supreme Court blocked the nationwide rollout of OSHA’s “vaccinate or test” mandate for employers with 100 or more employees, upholding the temporary injunction, pending resolution of the case on appeal.
Stay tuned to PWW as we navigate this ever-evolving issue together.

We’ll be covering vaccine mandates and much more this Spring

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