Emergency Regulation on Mandatory Vaccinations for Health Facility Workers
The Public Health and Health Planning Council and the Commissioner of Health approved emergency regulations on August 26, 2021 to help combat the increasing circulation of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant. When filed, the new regulations will supersede the order announced August 16 by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for hospital and nursing home workers, but without any religious exemption from the vaccination requirement.
The emergency regulations mandate that “covered entities” require personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The term “covered entity” encompasses general hospitals, nursing homes, and diagnostic and treatment centers; any agency established pursuant to Article 36 of the Public Health Law, including certified home health agencies, long term home health care programs, AIDS home care programs, licensed home care service agencies and licensed home care service agencies; hospices; and adult care facilities. The regulation covers all persons employed or affiliated with a covered entity, whether paid or unpaid, including but not limited to employees, members of the medical and nursing staff, contract staff, students and volunteers. Personnel must receive the first dose of the vaccine by September 27, 2021 for general hospitals and nursing homes and by October 7, 2021 for other covered entities.
The new regulations include medical exemptions based on pre-existing conditions for personnel, but no religious exemption. The regulations do not apply to medical practices that operate as professional entities, rather than as diagnostic and treatment centers. Accordingly, medical practices must still offer a religious exemption from the vaccination requirement for their employees.
For more information on this Client Advisory, please contact:
Robert Braumuller, Chair, Health Law Practice Group at 914-287-6185.