Conversations Blog

Jenny Albertson, NHA

Director of Quality & Regulatory Affairs

CMS Removes COVID Testing and Staff Vax Requirements

On May 31, 2023, CMS announced a final rule.

This rule will be effective 60 days after it is published in the federal register, which is scheduled to happen on June 5, 2023. It makes 3 key changes:

  1. ​Removes expired language addressing staff and resident COVID-19 testing requirements issued in the interim final rule (IFR) “LTC Facility Testing” on September 2, 2020.
  2. Withdraws the regulations published in the IFR “COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination” on November 5, 2021.
  3. Finalizes certain provisions published in the IFR “COVID-19 Vaccine Educate and Offer” on May 13, 2021.

CMS will not be enforcing the staff vaccination provisions between now and the effective date of this final rule. 

CMS COVID-19 Vaccine Regulatory Changes

  • CMS is withdrawing all requirements to vaccinate staff for COVID-19 issued in the staff vaccination IFC.
  • This removes section 483.80(i) of the SNF requirements of participation and 483.430(f) of the ICF/IID conditions of participation.
    • ​This means that the requirement to have all staff vaccinated for COVID-19 or receive a medical exemption will be removed.
    • Note: COVID-19 vaccination of health care staff and residents will be reported through the SNF Quality Reporting Program (QRP).
  • ​CMS is finalizing the requirement from the “COVID-19 Vaccine Educate and Offer rule” which maintains requirements for LTC facilities to educate staff and residents about, and offer, the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • ​Guidance on this rule is available in QSO-21-19-NH.
    • All elements of this rule are being finalized except for the language referring to LTC facility staff refusing the COVID-19 vaccine originally set forth at § 483.80(d)(3)(v).
    • Note: facilities are still required to report COVID-19 vaccine status for residents and staff to NHSN.

CMS COVID-19 Testing Changes

  • ​CMS is removing all testing requirements issued in the interim final rule (IFR) “LTC Facility Testing” on September 2, 2020.
  • This removes section 483.80(h) of the Requirements of Participation.​​