CMS Final Rule Removes COVID-19 Testing and Staff Vaccination Requirements

COVID-19; Regulations
​​​​On May 31, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a final rule, “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Policy and Regulatory Changes to the Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Requirements; Additional Policy and Regulatory Changes to the Requirements for Long-Term Care (LTC) Facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs-IID) to Provide COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Offer Vaccinations to Residents, Clients, and Staff; Policy and Regulatory Changes to the Long Term Care Facility COVID-19 Testing Requirements.”
This rule will be effective 60 days after it is published in the federal register, which is scheduled to happen on June 5, 2023. 

This rule makes three key changes:
CMS will not be enforcing the staff vaccination provisions between now and the effective date of this final rule. 

More details are shared below. Please contact​ with questions. 

CMS COVID-19 Vaccine Regulatory Changes
  • ​CMS is withdrawing all requirements to vaccinate staff for COVID-19 issued in the staff vaccination IFC
  • This removes section 483.80(i) of the SNF requirements of participation and 483.430(f) of the ICF/IID conditions of participation. 
    • ​This means that the requirement to have all staff vaccinated for COVID-19 or receive a medical exemption will be removed. 
    • Note, COVID-19 vaccination of health care staff and residents will be reported through the SNF Quality Reporting Program (QRP).
  • ​CMS is finalizing the requirement from the “COVID-19 Vaccine Educate and Offer rule” which maintains requirements for LTC facilities to educate staff and residents about, and offer, the COVID-19 vaccine. 
    • ​Guidance on this rule is available in QSO-21-19-NH
    • All elements of this rule are being finalized except for the language referring to LTC facility staff refusing the COVID-19 vaccine originally set forth at § 483.80(d)(3)(v).
    • Note that this rule maintains the requirement to report COVID-19 vaccine status for residents and staff to NHSN.

CMS COVID-19 Testing Changes
  • ​CMS is removing all testing requirements issued in the interim final rule (IFR) “LTC Facility Testing” on September 2, 2020. 
  • This removes section 483.80(h) of the Requirements of Participation.​​