Federal contractor employers subject to the new COVID vaccine requirements were previously given a December 8, 2021 deadline to show that all covered employees are fully vaccinated. However, with the release of new vaccine requirements from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the deadline for federal contractors has been extended to match with the deadline in the OSHA requirements. Both federal contractor employers and any employer with 100 or more employees will now have until January 4, 2022 to come into full compliance.
The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has also recently provided additional guidance for federal contractors and subcontractors in the form of new FAQs regarding vaccination and safety protocols, the scope and applicability of requirements for federal contractors, and compliance.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also announced the details of that agency’s requirements for the vaccination of all health care workers at facilities that accept Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursement. The CMS has also set the deadline for compliance at January 4, 2022.
The potential multiple layers of coverage can be confusing. For example, a health care facility might be subject to the new OSHA rule, the CMS requirements, and the requirements for federal contractor employers. To the extent that these rules differ, which one(s) apply?
According to a fact sheet released by the White House, OSHA will not enforce its requirements on workplaces that are also covered by either the vaccination requirements for federal contractors or the CMS rule, meaning that to the extent the requirements differ, the requirements for federal contractors and health care workers effectively supersede the new OSHA rule.
To the extent that the CMS requirements and those for federal contractors differ, health care providers would be wise to focus on the CMS requirements as they are more comprehensive, provide more protection for more people, and would likely have more dire consequences for non-compliance as the loss of Medicare and/or Medicaid reimbursement could be devastating to the business.
As always, if you have questions or concerns about this or any other requirements for federal contractor employers, feel free to contact us at BCGi@Biddle.com.