CMS vaccine policy now enforceable in all 50 states

January 19, 2022


The federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers can officially go into effect nationwide after a judge tossed out a challenge to the mandate from Texas on Wednesday.

A judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted a temporary block of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requirement that employees at Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Texas.

But Texas moved to dismiss the case on Tuesday following the Supreme Court’s decision to let the CMS enforce the mandate while appeals are considered at lower courts.

Accordingly, the federal government’s requests to block both the lawsuit’s proceedings and an injunction pending appeal were dismissed as irrelevant.

The Supreme Court’s decision came after hearing arguments on two separate lawsuits against the mandate brought by 24 states. Texas had filed its own challenge against the policy that was not heard by the Supreme Court, so the court’s decision did not impact Texas providers.

CMS on Friday pushed back compliance dates for providers in the 24 states newly subject to the guidance following the Supreme Court decision. CMS officials said at the time that the guidance specifically did not apply to Texas, as litigation was ongoing. CMS did not immediately respond to questions about whether deadlines will be changed for Texas providers as well.