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CMS Clarifies Surveyor Expectations for COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Requirements

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a letter to state survey agencies (SAs) clarifying that surveyors are not expected to survey hospitals on COVID-19 vaccinations requirements on every survey.  

Specifically, SAs and accrediting organizations are now only expected to perform compliance reviews of the staff vaccination requirement during initial and recertification surveys and in response to specific complaint allegations that allege non-compliance with the staff vaccination requirement. 

CMS also intends to update guidance to ensure deficiency determinations reflect good faith efforts implemented by providers and suppliers and incorporate harm or potential harm to patients and residents resulting from any non-compliance.  

CMS notes that nearly 12,000 providers and suppliers have been surveyed for compliance with the requirement, and to date, 95% of those surveyed by states have been found to be in substantial compliance with this requirement.