Supreme Court OKs Worker Vaccine Mandate for Federally Funded Health Facilities


The U.S. Supreme Court has given the green light to a Biden administration regulation requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers at facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding.

The high court’s 5-4 decision in the health care facilities case came on Jan. 13, the same day it blocked a more sweeping administration order attempting to impose a vaccinate-or-test-weekly mandate on large employers in a separate suit.

The decision on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) health care facilities regulation means federally funded entities can move forward with vaccine requirements for the likes of physician contractors and doctors with admitting privileges at nursing homes, federally qualified health centers, and hospitals.

“The challenges posed by a global pandemic do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not conferred upon it. At the same time, such unprecedented circumstances provide no grounds for limiting the exercise of authorities the agency has long been recognized to have,” the court’s majority opinion said in the health care facilities case.

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement the agency was “extremely pleased” by the court’s decision.

“CMS’ vaccine rule will cover 10.4 million health care workers at 76,000 medical facilities. Giving patients assurance on the safety of their care is a critical responsibility of CMS and a key to combatting the pandemic,” she said.

“Vaccines are proven to reduce the risk of severe disease. The prevalence of the virus and its ever-evolving variants in health care settings continues to increase the risk of staff contracting and transmitting COVID-19, putting their patients, families, and our broader communities at risk. And health care staff being unable to work because of illness or exposure to COVID-19 further strains the health care system and limits patient access to safe and essential care.”

More information on the health care facility rule is available in a CMS fact sheet.

In the other case under review, the Supreme Court by a 6-3 decision blocked the administration’s attempt, through an Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulation, to require businesses with 100 or more employees to develop a plan to either mandate employee vaccinations or require weekly testing for those who don’t comply.

Last Updated On

April 05, 2022

Originally Published On

January 14, 2022