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HHS appeals block on healthcare worker vaccine mandate

The appeal is in response to court rulings saying the federal government overstepped its authority by not seeking Congressional approval.

December 6, 2021 / Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Unhappy about a federal court decision that put the brakes on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ national vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, the Department of Health and Human Services has filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

On Nov. 4, in a rule that followed through on President Joe Biden’s mandate issued in September, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services required all healthcare workers in facilities that accepted Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to be fully vaccinated by January 4.

Non-compliant facilities would risk losing Medicare and Medicaid funding. There would be no exceptions that allow for weekly testing.

The federal government overstepped its authority because the mandate was not authorized by Congress, said Judge Matthew T. Schlep of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

“Because this mandate significantly alters the balance between federal and state power, only a clear authorization from Congress would empower CMS,” Schlep said in the order. “Given the vast economic and political significance of this vaccine mandate, only a clear authorization from Congress would empower CMS to act.”


Chris J. Stewart

Chris currently serves as President and CEO of Surgio Health. Chris has close to 20 years of healthcare management experience, with an infinity to improve healthcare delivery through the development and implementation of innovative solutions that result in improved efficiencies, reduction of unnecessary financial & clinical variation, and help achieve better patient outcomes. Previously, Chris was assistant vice president and business unit leader for HPG/HCA. He has presented at numerous healthcare forums on topics that include disruptive innovation, physician engagement, shifting reimbursement models, cost per clinical episode and the future of supply chain delivery.

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