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CMS Issues Vaccine Mandate for Nursing Home Staff

In August 2021, The Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed an emergency regulation regarding COVID-19 vaccinations among nursing homes and long-term care facilities. This rule requires that staff working in Medicare and Medicaid-participating nursing homes be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. These requirements will apply to approximately 50,000 providers and cover more than 17 million health care workers across the country.*

The rationale for the decision stems from the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is more easily transmissible. COVID-19 is particularly troublesome for these nursing care facilities because of the virus’s outsized impact on seniors, who are more vulnerable to complications from the virus. The announcement of the policy is supplemented by efforts on the part of CMS to increase vaccination rates for patients living in Medicare-participating nursing homes.

Under this rule, nursing home facilities must either impose the mandate on their employees or risk losing federal funding.

What does this mean for my Medicare beneficiary living in a nursing home?

For Medicare beneficiaries living in nursing homes, this change in regulation essentially means that anyone caring for them in a skilled nursing or staff capacity must now be vaccinated against COVID-19. It does not, however, require patients themselves to be vaccinated. Reducing exposure to COVID-19 is one of the most important actions a nursing home can take. Vaccinating both staff members and patients is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of exposure and to keep your loved ones safe.

For those facilities where staff turnover is already high, this nursing home mandate could lead employees to quit over their personal beliefs regarding COVID-19 vaccination. This may impact quality of care for nursing home residents and could be a reason to find a new care facility if their care is compromised.

Have other questions about Medicare? SelectQuote can help.

If your loved one is a Medicare beneficiary living in a long-term care facility or nursing home, don’t let your questions go unanswered. At SelectQuote, we can help you find information related to Medicare coverage, eligibility, nursing home facilities and more. Our knowledgeable team can also help you find the right Medicare coverage to better support your loved one during their nursing home stay.


Questions? Call 1-855-516-9212 to speak with our Customer Care Team.