he Biden administration’s announcement that nursing homes receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars will be required to vaccinate their staff is a major advance for patient safety. But it would be a mistake to stop there. To protect health care workers and ensure that the system has the staffing capacity for all patients who need care—whether for COVID-19 or other conditions—the administration should extend its vaccination requirement to all entities receiving payment from Medicare and Medicaid.
The nursing home announcement—which came earlier this month from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—closely followed decisive action by state leaders to ensure health care workers are vaccinated. This is not a partisan policy. Gov. Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) is requiring vaccination for staff in long-term care facilities, Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) has a vaccinate-or-test requirement for hospitals and nursing homes and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) announced workers across all health care settings must be vaccinated or face regular testing. More recently, Gov. Kate Brown (D-Ore.) said she is requiring all health care workers to get fully vaccinated without a testing-only opt out.
The above excerpt was originally published in Newsweek.
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