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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

December 1, 2021

Louisiana Federal Judge Expands Injunction Prohibiting Enforcement of CMS Vaccine Mandate Nationwide

In our alerts from November 24 and November 29 on the various vaccine mandates, we noted the upcoming deadline for entities covered under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’)  Interim Final Rule (CMS Rule), which requires that eligible employees receive their first shot of an approved COVID-19 vaccine or apply for an accommodation by December 6, 2021, and their second shot of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine by January 4, 2022. The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has since confirmed that the CMS Rule applies to health care and human services provider staff who regularly work at intermediate care facilities (ICFs), developmental centers (DCs), specialty hospitals, and Article 16 clinics.   

On November 29, 2021, a federal judge in Missouri temporarily blocked CMS from enforcing the CMS Rule in the following 10 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.i  And just yesterday, November 30, on the heels of the decision in Missouri, a federal judge in Louisiana issued an order enjoining the enforcement of the CMS Rule nationwide.ii

What does this mean to ICFs, DCs, specialty hospitals, and Article 16 clinics in New York State? For now, the CMS Rule cannot be enforced and, therefore, covered entities are not required to follow it. It is expected, however, that the federal government will challenge the nationwide injunction in an effort to have it vacated. It should also be noted that this nationwide injunction of the CMS Rule does not prevent states, such as New York, from enforcing or even expanding existing vaccine mandates applicable to health care workers. As a result, it is important to stay updated on developments at all levels of government.

Barclay Damon’s Health & Human Services Providers Team and Labor & Employment Practice Area attorneys will continue to closely follow developments relating to COVID-19 vaccine requirements for health care and human services providers. Meanwhile, agencies should continue to monitor guidelines from state and local authorities.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Margaret Surowka, counsel, at msurowka@barclaydamon.com, or another member of the firm’s Health & Human Services Providers Team.

We also have a specific team of Barclay Damon attorneys who are actively working on assessing regulatory, legislative, and other governmental updates related to COVID-19 and who are prepared to assist clients. Please contact Yvonne Hennessey, COVID-19 Response Team leader, at yhennessey@barclaydamon.com, or any member of the COVID-19 Response Team, at COVID-19ResponseTeam@barclaydamon.com

iSee Missouri v. Biden, Case No. 4:21-CV-01329 (Eastern District of Missouri, Eastern Division)
iiSee Louisiana v. Becerra, Case No. 3:21-CV-03970 (Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division

 

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