States sue over COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

Ten states sued the federal authorities Wednesday difficult its mandate for workers at Medicare and Medicaid-participating healthcare services to obtain COVID-19 vaccines, saying the requirement will exacerbate workforce shortages.

The lawsuit, filed within the U.S. District Courtroom for the Japanese District of Missouri, asks the courtroom to completely cease the Facilities for Medicare and Medicaid Companies interim ultimate rule that created the mandate.

Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire predict of their grievance that the mandate will devastate healthcare techniques, particularly in rural areas.

“Vaccination necessities are issues that rely upon native components and situations. No matter would possibly make sense in New York Metropolis, St. Louis, or Omaha could possibly be decidedly counterproductive and dangerous in rural communities like Memphis, Missouri or McCook, Nebraska,” the grievance mentioned.

Whereas CMS acknowledged workforce considerations in its interim ultimate rule, it mentioned unvaccinated workers might get jobs in healthcare fields not coated beneath the mandate, like doctor and dental workplaces, in keeping with the lawsuit.

“It doesn’t counsel that the healthcare employee scarcity will disappear however solely that shortages will probably be additional concentrated among the many healthcare services coated by the CMS mandate,” the grievance mentioned.

The lawsuit additionally took challenge with CMS’ resolution to not let workers select common COVID-19 testing as an alternative of vaccination or decide out in the event that they’ve beforehand had the virus, saying this ignores private liberty issues in addition to workforce considerations. That call additionally creates a battle with the Occupational Security and Well being Administration’s associated requirement.

The states declare the rule straight harms them as a result of it requires state-run healthcare services and surveyors to implement the mandate, resulting in elevated enforcement prices.

“But once more, this lawsuit is just not about whether or not individuals ought to get vaccinated. As a substitute, it’s about federal overreach and the federal authorities utilizing an unconstitutional mandate to power front-line healthcare employees to decide on between a vaccination or unemployment,” North Dakota Lawyer Basic Wayne Stenehjem mentioned in a press release.

The states argue public well being issues, together with vaccine mandates, needs to be regulated by the states. They declare CMS’ rulemaking authority would not enable it to impose such a broad mandate not approved by Congress, and the provisions CMS specified by its personal justification of the rule aren’t enough. The states additional argue CMS is violating legal guidelines that forestall federal companies from controlling the choice or tenure of individuals offering well being companies.

Previous to the lawsuit’s submitting, authorized students mentioned CMS’ authority to impose the mandate was fairly concrete. James Hodge, director of the Heart for Public Well being Regulation and Coverage at Arizona State College, told Modern Healthcare last week CMS has the broad capacity to tie coverage to the receipt of federal funds.

A number of states, together with these suing CMS, have additionally filed lawsuits against the OSHA mandate.

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