On September 9, 2021, the Biden Administration announced a federal vaccine mandate for all workers in healthcare settings, federal employees and contractors, and other workplaces with over 100 employees. While an interim final rule has not yet been published, here is what we know and expect regarding the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers:
- FQHCs are explicitly listed as being subject to the vaccine mandate. (See the CMS announcement, which links to a list of list of facilities to which the mandate applies.)
- The mandate will apply to all FQHC employees, contractors, and volunteers – including those who have no direct contact with patients.
- Individuals will not have the option to take weekly tests instead of getting vaccinated.
- While the mandate will be not become effective until sometime in October, CMS has stated that health care providers “should make efforts now to get health care staff vaccinated to make sure they are in compliance when the rule takes effect.”
- While no details have been provided yet, it is expected that staff will be eligible for medical or religious exemptions from the vaccine mandate. (Please note that we are still awaiting further guidance from the NYS DOH about the intersection between their vaccine mandate, which does not allow for religious exemptions, and the EEOC requirement to provide a religious exemption.)
- All employers must provide staff with paid time off to receive and recover from the vaccine.
Please continue to send questions to Marie Mongeon (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will elevate them to the appropriate channel. We will continue to update all health centers as we receive additional information.