Florida Nursing Home Workers to Face Vaccine Mandate

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – As COVID-19 cases proceed to surge successful Florida, the White House announced Wednesday that nursing homes that trust connected Medicaid and Medicare backing indispensable necessitate their unit members to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The announcement volition person a ripple effect done Florida, which has astir 700 nursing homes. Groups that advocator connected behalf of seniors had already been sounding the alarm astir debased vaccination rates among nursing location workers.

READ MORE: Florida Nursing Home Residents May Need A Coronavirus Vaccine Booster Shot

The mandate is expected to use to much than 15,000 nursing homes nationally and is being pushed by the Biden medication arsenic the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus has caused a spike successful COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Regulations volition beryllium published successful September, according to a “fact sheet” the White House distributed Wednesday.

Tom Parker, manager of reimbursement for the Florida Health Care Association, said Florida nursing homes trust heavy connected Medicaid and Medicare to wage for nonmigratory care.

Parker called Medicaid an “essential” backing root for the state’s nursing homes, saying that connected mean it makes up astir 51 percent of a facility’s funding. Medicaid is jointly funded by the authorities and national governments and covers health-care costs of low-income residents, galore seniors and radical with disabilities.

Parker said Medicare, which is administered solely by the national government, accounts for an further 30 percent of gross for Florida nursing homes. The different 19 percent, Parker said, comes from backstage insurance, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and radical who wage retired of pocket.

As a result, the vaccination mandate volition person a important interaction successful Florida. Not lone are providers reliant connected the national funding, Florida nursing homes had the second-lowest percent of vaccinated workers successful the state during a four-week play successful June and July, according to an AARP investigation released past week.

Florida nursing homes reported information that showed connected mean 45.1 percent of workers had been vaccinated during the play from June 20 to July 18. Only Louisiana had little vaccination rates.

The AARP investigation besides showed that lone 5.2 percent of the 691 licensed nursing homes successful Florida reported that 75 percent oregon much of their unit had been vaccinated. That was the lowest percent of nursing homes reporting 75 percent vaccination rates successful the nation.

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Gov Ron DeSantis has been adamant successful his absorption to mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic. DeSantis this period said helium didn’t enactment hospitals requiring unit members to beryllium vaccinated. The politician besides has sought to forestall schools from requiring students to deterioration masks and has battled a cruise enactment successful tribunal implicit attempts to necessitate passengers to amusement impervious of vaccination.

But arsenic the vaccines became disposable precocious past year, DeSantis besides focused heavy connected vaccinating seniors, including nursing location residents. COVID-19 is peculiarly unsafe to seniors and radical with underlying aesculapian conditions, and outbreaks successful nursing homes person led to thousands of deaths.

The governor’s bureau did not instantly reply to News Service of Florida requests for remark connected the Biden administration’s mandate for nursing-home unit vaccinations.

News of the mandate came aft the authorities reported 23,335 caller COVID-19 infections and 8 further deaths connected Tuesday. Nationally, 141,893 caller infections and 822 deaths were reported for the day.

Florida besides reported that 17,096 patients with COVID-19 were successful hospitals crossed the authorities and that they occupied much than 31 percent of inpatient beds.

The Florida Health Care Association, which represents astir 560 nursing homes, volition reappraisal the national regulations astir unit vaccinations erstwhile they go available, relation spokeswoman Kristen Knapp said successful a connection to the News Service.

“In the meantime, we proceed to enactment our members arsenic they enactment connected expanding vaccination rates among staff, arsenic we cognize the vaccine is 1 of the safest ways to support against the virus,” Knapp said.

LeadingAge Florida, different semipermanent attraction association, besides was waiting Wednesday to spot further details astir the mandate. But Nick Van Der Linden, a spokesperson for the group, said successful a connection to the News Service that the relation “has ever powerfully supported vaccinations for each residents and unit successful semipermanent attraction settings. Our members person been moving successful this absorption connected their own, and we person seen an summation successful the fig of providers that present person mandates successful place.”

The Biden medication besides announced Wednesday it volition marque booster shots disposable to the nationalist opening the week of Sept. 20. The program is to marque the booster shots disposable truthful radical tin person them 8 months aft they received 2nd doses of the Pfizer oregon Moderna vaccines.

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(©2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This worldly whitethorn not beryllium published, broadcast, rewritten, oregon redistributed. The News Service of Florida’s Christine Sexton contributed to this report.)

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