WASHINGTON (AP/KDKA) — The Biden administration will require that nursing home staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition for those facilities to continue receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding.
Biden will announce the move Wednesday afternoon in a White House address as the administration continues to look for ways to use mandates to encourage vaccine holdouts to get shots. A senior administration official confirmed the announcement on condition of anonymity to preview the news before Biden’s remarks.READ MORE: Woodland Hills Varsity Football's Friday Night Game To Limit Capacity Following School Fights
The new mandate, in the form of a forthcoming regulation to be issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, could take effect as soon as next month.
Hundreds of thousands of nursing home workers are not vaccinated, according to federal data, despite those facilities bearing the brunt of the early COVID-19 outbreak and their workers being among the first in the country to be eligible for shots.
Last week the Pennsylvania Department of Health said it expects all nursing homes to have at least 80 percent of their staff vaccinated by Oct. 1 or else employees will face more frequent testing. The state said only about 12.5 percent of facilities have reached the bar of 80 percent, “which is not enough from a public health perspective to prevent future outbreaks of the virus.”
More than 13,000 residents of licensed nursing and personal care homes have died from COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
It comes as the Biden administration seeks to raise the costs for those who have yet to get vaccinated, after months of incentives and giveaways proved to be insufficient to drive tens of millions of Americans to roll up their sleeves.READ MORE: Crews Working On Water Main Break On Magee Street In Uptown
In just the past three weeks, Biden has forced millions of federal workers to attest to their vaccination status or face onerous new requirements, with even stricter requirements for federal workers in frontline health roles, and his administration has moved toward mandating vaccines for the military as soon as next month.
Biden has also celebrated businesses that have mandated vaccines for their own workforces and encouraged others to follow, and highlighted local vaccine mandates as a condition for daily activities, like indoor dining.
The new effort seems to be paying off, as the nation’s rate of new vaccinations has nearly doubled over the past month. More than 200 million Americans have now received at least one dose of the vaccines, according to the White House, but about 80 million Americans are eligible but haven’t yet been vaccinated.
Last year CMS used similar regulatory authority to prohibit most visitors from nursing homes in an effort to protect residents.
Biden’s announcement was first reported by CNN.MORE NEWS: Parkway North Inbound Lane Restriction Planned On Friday
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