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January 27, 2022

Around the nation: Florida drops appeal against Covid-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers

Daily Briefing

    Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a motion to dismiss an appeal against federal Covid-19 vaccine requirements for health care workers, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Florida, and Iowa.

    • District of Columbia: The U.S. Labor Department on Tuesday announced that the Biden administration would withdraw its Covid-19 vaccine mandate for large employers, effective Jan. 26. The decision to withdraw the vaccine-or-testing requirement for large employers came after the Supreme Court earlier this month voted 6-3 to overturn the rule, saying that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) did not have the authority to enforce the requirement. According to a statement from OSHA, the agency plans to issue a final standard aimed at protecting health care workers from Covid-19 hazards. "Notwithstanding the withdrawal of the Vaccination and Testing ETS, OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by Covid-19 in the workplace," the agency said. (Goldberg, New York Times, 1/26; Bannow, Modern Healthcare, 1/25)
    • Florida: Attorney General Ashley Moody's office on Friday filed a motion to dismiss an appeal against federal Covid-19 vaccine requirements for health care workers. In the motion, Moody cited the Supreme Court's Jan. 13 ruling that upheld the CMS vaccine requirement for health care workers in various cases across the country. For Florida providers that participate in Medicaid and Medicare programs, the vaccine requirements will take effect Thursday. By Thursday, workers will be required to receive at least one dose of vaccine—unless they have pending requests for exemptions. Within one month, workers will need to be fully vaccinated. Although Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller said her agency will "not survey for compliance with the CMS vaccine mandate rule," many facilities depend on Medicare and Medicaid funding and do not want to risk losing it. "Our members are obligated to comply with the CMS rule and they have been planning accordingly," said Nick Van Der Linden, a spokesman for long-term care industry group, LeadingAge Florida. "The potential loss of Medicaid and Medicare funding for not following the federal law could be devastating to providers and ultimately displace Florida's most frail elders." (Saunders, Miami Herald, 1/24)
    • Iowa: University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics on Tuesday announced that Emily Blomberg has been appointed as its COO, effective March 14. Blomberg previously served as COO for Hennepin Healthcare and VP of health system operations at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. "I'm pleased to welcome Emily to our strong senior leadership team," said University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics CEO Suresh Gunasekaran. "Her background and experience in operational management is outstanding, and she's been a leader at some of the nation's premier health systems." (Jensik, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/25)

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