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Biden Administration Releases CMS and OSHA Emergency COVID-19 Rules; OSHA Rule Suspended

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

The Biden-Harris Administration announced the release of two interim final rules: (1) a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rule requiring vaccination of staff of certain health care facilities, and (2) an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule requiring employers of large companies mandating COVID-19 vaccines or testing. Both rules are effective November 5, 2021.

OSHA's new federal rule mandates COVID-19 vaccinations or at least weekly testing for workers at companies with 100 or more employees. This summary of the OSHA rule from the National Council of Nonprofits is a helpful guide to the regulations. This rule covers 84 million employees.

The administration also released a new rule through CMS that requires workers at health care facilities participating in Medicare or

Medicaid to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4. This FAQ from CMS provides more details. This rule covers more than 17 million workers at approximately 76,000 healthcare facilities around the country.

UPDATE: OSHA is suspending enforcement of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for businesses with 100+ employees after a federal appeals court decision.

In the 22-page ruling, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that the administration’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate was “fatally flawed” and ordered that OSHA not enforce the requirement “pending adequate judicial review” of a motion for a permanent injunction. OSHA said in a statement published on its website that while it is confident in its power to protect workers amid the pandemic, it is suspending activities related to the mandate, citing the pending litigation.

Despite the court’s ruling, however, the White House urged businesses to continue implementing the guidance for COVID-19 vaccines and testing.


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