On November 4, CMS published an Interim Final Rule requiring staff members of most Medicare and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4, 2022, unless an individual has a religious or medical exemption. On November 29 and 30, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Western District of Louisiana issued preliminary injunctions against the implementation and enforcement of the Interim Final Rule. Together these injunctions covered all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories. However, on December 15, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals partially upheld and partially reversed the Louisiana court’s decision. Now, the injunction only applies to the 14 states that brought the lawsuit in Louisiana, and the 10 states that are the plaintiffs in the Missouri lawsuit. For all other states, the injunction has been lifted.
On December 2, CMS released a memorandum suspending survey and enforcement activities on the vaccine requirements. CMS has yet to issue guidance on how the recent Fifth Circuit partial lifting of the injunction will effect enforcement.