GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Nursing homes that receive Medicaid or Medicare funds are at risk of losing the federal money unless they mandate all staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
President Biden announced on Wednesday that he is directing all nursing homes to require vaccines. The decision marks another attempt by the President to get as many Americans vaccinated as soon as possible.
"The delta variant is twice as transmissible as the alpha variant. It’s dangerous, and it continues to spread. Vaccines are the key to stopping it," President Biden said in a COVID-19 briefing today.
70% of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but the staff at nursing homes or assisted living facilities trail behind that number 60% of staff vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The Health Care Association of Michigan weighed in on that decision shortly after the announced in a statement saying:
“The Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM) appreciates the Biden Administration’s goal of increasing vaccination rates in nursing facilities. While providers have always encouraged staff vaccination with the goal of full compliance, we are concerned singling out one provider group for this mandate will further exacerbate critical staffing challenges. HCAM will work as quickly as possible to understand next steps that nursing facility providers should take to meet the requirement of having all staff vaccinated. We look forward to further information from CMS on the specifics of this upcoming rule. Providers continue to educate staff on the importance of the role of the vaccine in stopping the spread of COVID-19.”
The President did not provide a timeline or a date for those mandatory vaccine deadlines. He also did not say if there would be any exemptions granted.