US’ largest collaborative of not-for-profit hospices voices support for expanded vaccine mandates

US’ largest collaborative of not-for-profit hospices voices support for expanded vaccine mandates

Washington, DC // The National Partnership for Healthcare and Hospice Innovation (NPHI), the US’ largest collaborative of not-for-profit hospices, applauded the Biden Administration’s Thursday announcement of expanded vaccine requirements for health care providers. The plan outlined six points of focus, including: vaccinating the unvaccinated; further protecting the vaccinated; safely keeping schools open; increasing testing and requiring masking; protecting economic recovery; and improving care for those with COVID-19.

“Thursday’s announcement is a much-needed step in the right direction to help keep our communities healthy,” said Tom Koutsoumpas, CEO of NPHI. “Perhaps most encouraging is the expansion of CMS’ vaccine requirements to workers in all health care settings that receive reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid. We are pleased to see the Administration take these additional steps to improve patient, family, and provider safety.”

The expanded mandate builds on CMS’ August announcement that it would require staff in Medicare and Medicaid participating nursing homes to be fully vaccinated, citing the more than eightfold rise in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant between June 27 and August 8. The Agency has required Long-Term and Intermediate Care facilities to educate residents, clients and staff on vaccination since May, though it had stopped short of mandating vaccines at the time.

This week’s development means that more than 17 million health care workers in hospitals, dialysis facilities, home health agencies, and palliative and hospice care facilities will be required to receive the vaccine. Moreover, the requirement covers not only clinical staff, but volunteers and client care staff at more than 50,000 providers across the country.

“Despite rightfully prioritizing worker and patient safety, we recognize that these policies come with a significant financial burden for providers,” said Carole Fisher, President of NPHI. “We are nevertheless encouraged by the steps taken by the administration to provide financial relief to healthcare providers and other small businesses.”

In addition to Friday’s infusion of more than $17 billion into the Provider Relief Fund, a program created by last year’s CARES Act, yesterday’s announcement also outlined numerous options for small businesses to receive flexible, low-cost loans via the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

Learn more about the White House’s COVID-19 action plan here.

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