The vaccination rate of rural hospital staff continues to lag behind

COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to lag among rural hospital staff as some CEOs choose to wait for the court to screen conflicting state laws and federal directives.

Of the 130 rural healthcare executives surveyed in September and October, less than half stated that at least 70% of their employees were vaccinated, compared with Vaccination rates in March and April, According to the new polling From the Chartis Rural Health Center. In view of the conflicts between state laws and federal regulations, some rural hospital CEOs have refused or postponed the task of vaccination.

At the same time, according to the latest Chartis survey, nearly half of the respondents said that they had to reject patients in the past two months because they did not have enough staff.

The national leader of Chartis, Michael Topchik, stated: “The fact that healthcare executives do not support the defense or the greatest chance of defeating the virus that medical science tells us is frightening.” Rural communities. “we know Coronavirus disease Rural areas and political red areas are raging disproportionately in an alarming number, so it is sad to see politics cost people’s health and lives. ”

Missouri, Alabama, Iowa, Florida and other states Other Republican-led states, Arguing that public health affairs should be supervised by the states.State officials have Prosecute The federal government claims that their state exemptions replace the provisional final rules and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Generally speaking, federal laws take precedence over opposite state laws. However, Jones Walker partner William Horton said that there are still unresolved questions about whether OSHA and CMS regulations fall within the statutory powers of these agencies.

“CMS is authorized to set terms of participation and payment under federal health care programs, such as Medicare. However, CMS generally cannot impose substantive requirements on the operation of health care institutions-this is mainly the state license law and other state functions-legal requirements ,”He said. “So, at least assuming that the CMS directive and the opposite state law are both valid and non-conflicting, even if it would be a disastrous result. In short, it’s a mess.”

this Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff partner Margo Wolf O’Donnell stated that the aim is to overturn state laws and make things more uniform across the country, but it is not clear how the situation in the court will be shaken.

“Does OSHA have the conditions needed to overturn these state laws? This has been a tense situation during the pandemic,” she said.

O’Donnell added that because the health system has employees in multiple states, the conflict has become more complicated.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Be ruled Although OHSA has the power to draft emergency interim standards, it did not exercise its powers properly. The committee stated that the agency has adopted a omnipotent “sledgehammer” approach, not a “careful scalpel.” It did not properly distinguish between types of employers, nor did it justify the 100-employee threshold.The case has now entered Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis partner Mark Peters (Mark Peters) said: “In terms of law enforcement, the occupational safety and health administration battle is more difficult.” “Clearly CMS has the right to determine the conditions of participation. From the health care provider’s From a point of view, I would feel much more comfortable to enforce the interim final rules of CMS.”

Peters said that if OSHA’s emergency provisional standards are deemed enforceable, then federal laws will override state laws, and this is likely to happen. He said that regardless of the outcome, healthcare providers can continue to encourage employees to vaccinate.

The Chartis survey found that as of September and October, 75% of rural hospital executives stated that their facilities did not allow their employees to get injections. Of the 12.3% who needed vaccinations, hospitals reported that they had lost up to 5% of their nursing staff.

While hospital leaders await a possible Supreme Court ruling, medical service providers are still struggling to deal with a potentially fatal labor shortage.

Nearly 30% of respondents said that staffing issues related to nursing forced them to suspend services, usually surgery.

“If some rural hospitals lose a nurse, it may prevent them from providing 24/7 care,” Topcik said. “That could be catastrophic.”

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