CMS Requires COVID-19 Vaccines for Healthcare Staff by January 4th

The Biden Administration is requiring all staff who work at healthcare facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 4th, 2022. This emergency order, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in an effort to protect those healthcare workers and staff on the front lines of the pandemic, is currently on hold at the time of this post, though the news is rapidly changing. “Ensuring patient safety and protection from COVID-19 has been the focus of our efforts in combating the pandemic and the constantly evolving challenges we’re seeing,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure.

The vaccine mandate does not pertain to outpatient physician offices, but does include the following facilities and locations of care:

  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers
  • Hospice Facilities
  • Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities
  • Hospitals including: Acute Care Hospitals, Psychiatric Hospitals, Hospital Swing Beds, Long Term Care Hospitals, Children’s Hospitals, Transplant Centers, Cancer Hospitals, and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Long Term Care (LTC) Facilities, Including Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) and Nursing Facilities (NFs), as well as facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • Home Health Agencies & Comprehensive Outpatient Rehab Facilities
  • Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs)
  • Clinics, Rehabilitation Agencies, and Public Health Agencies Outpatient Physical Therapy And Speech-Language Pathology Services and Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs)
  • Home Infusion Therapy (HIT) Suppliers
  • Rural Health Clinics (RHCS) & (FQHS)
  • End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Facilities

Most states have separate licensing requirements for healthcare staff and providers in physician offices, as well as staff in smaller healthcare entities that are not subject to vaccination requirements. Based on current CDC guidance, individuals are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 fourteen (14) days after receipt of either a single-dose vaccine, or the second dose of a two-dose primary vaccination series. Adherence to these regulations presents yet another round of paperwork and manual data checking by facilities and administrative staff who are already overwhelmed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Can Automation Help Improve Efficiencies?

In the face of mounting pressures, health systems should consider identifying strategies to enhance revenue, reduce costs, and improve efficiency without an increased “human” toll. Automation does this by helping clinicians and administrative staff maintain “business as usual” without the overwhelming data burden, or an increased amount of physical data manipulation. A few of the ways RPA has helped healthcare during the pandemic include:

  • Sorting through volumes of data to find the right patient lists for COVID-19 vaccines
  • Scheduling patients for vaccine appointments, lab tests, & results
  • Registering lot numbers, vaccinations, and PPE
  • Speeding HRSA revenue cycle claims for uninsured patient reimbursement
  • Improving the onboarding process for Human Resources
  • Automating clinical staff credentialing
  • Connecting the dots between disparate data silos
  • Maintaining ongoing revenue cycle management efficiencies

CMS has broad statutory authority to establish health and safety regulations, which includes the authority to establish these vaccination requirements. At a time when the new variant has been identified and is spreading across the globe, it is more imperative than ever to maintain vaccine diligence and protect the most vulnerable patient populations. Automation is the right partner to improve this process and reduce the impact on hospital and health system staff.

How Long Does it Take to Get Started?

At Boston Software Systems, we care about the hospitals and health systems struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. We have reduced the time and roadblocks associated with onboarding and can usually kick-off a project within days, not weeks or months. We have 30+ years of successful projects under our belt. KLAS gave Boston Software Systems solid A’s in company culture, loyalty, operations, and value. Give us a call. We’ve worked with all EHR vendors and applications, and are available on site or in the cloud. We are here to support healthcare workers during the continued COVID-19 crisis, bringing greater efficiency and productivity to an already overwhelmed healthcare system.

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