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New federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate currently 'doesn't apply to dental offices directly'

Sept. 16, 2021
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) suggests that the recent federal mandate requiring vaccinations for health-care workers at Medicare- and Medicaid-participating settings doesn’t apply to dentistry. Learn why.

Earlier this week, DentistryIQ reported that the new federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate for health-care workers' impact on dental offices was unclear.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has since made a statement to DentistryIQ suggesting that the mandate doesn’t apply to dental offices directly.

On September 9, it was widely announced that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), per President Biden, plans to issue a new emergency temporary standard that will require some 80-plus million workers, including those “in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies," to be vaccinated. Unclear was whether dental offices that accept Medicaid, some 43% in the US, according to ADA data, was subject to the mandate.

In its statement, CMS indicated it anticipates that the "staff vaccination requirement would apply to Medicare- and Medicaid-certified provider and supplier types that comply with the Medicare health and safety regulatory provisions, known as the Conditions of Participation, which includes, but is not limited to, hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical centers, and home health agencies."

However, while the organization believes that expanding the current staff vaccination requirement to such providers will “deliver assurances to individuals and their families that they will be protected when seeking care from a variety of providers,” it stated the current regulation “does not directly apply to dental offices as these are not regulated under the provider-specific health and safety regulatory provisions, generally referred to as ‘Conditions of Participation.’”

According to the American Dental Hygienists Association website, CMS will issue an interim final rule with comment period in October 2021 that will outline the vaccine requirements for applicable participating providers and facilities.

Check back with DentistryIQ for updates on the federal mandate as they affect dentistry.