Joint Commission to assess compliance with CMS staff-vaccination rule during survey process

Feb. 14, 2022

Beginning Jan. 27, 2022, the Joint Commission will begin assessing compliance with federal rules requiring healthcare staff members to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the Joint Commission announced in a news release.

The “Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination” interim final rule was published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Nov. 5, 2021, Federal Register, the Joint Commission said, adding that further guidance was published by CMS on Dec. 28, 2021.

On Jan. 27, the COVID-19 staff vaccination requirements will be in effect in the following states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, along with the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Jan. 13, healthcare organizations in the 24 states that were not previously subject to the “Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination” rule now are. Additionally, healthcare organizations in these 24 states need to demonstrate compliance utilizing the phased-in approach per the timelines (that begin Feb. 14, 2022) specified in the CMS memorandum issued Jan. 14.

Therefore, beginning Feb. 14, surveyors will begin surveying to the vaccination requirements for these 24 states as follows: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Changes to Joint Commission accreditation requirements for the affected deemed programs are under review, and accredited organizations will be notified of any changes via Joint Commission Perspectives.

In the interim, for any findings related to the regulatory requirements for COVID-19 staff vaccination, The Joint Commission will score Leadership (LD) Standard LD.04.01.01, element of performance (EP) 2: The organization provides care, treatment, and services in accordance with licensure requirements, laws, and rules and regulations, along with the applicable Medicare conditions of participation/conditions for coverage.

Joint Commission release

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