In a February 14, 2022, press release, The Joint Commission (Joint Commission) announced that it began surveying affected facilities for compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) interim final rule entitled “Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination,” published on November 5, 2021, with guidance following on December 28, 2021 (see our previous analysis here and here). Among other things, the rule required eligible staff in affected facilities to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Joint Commission surveying began on January 27, 2022, in states that did not challenge CMS’s interim final rule, and the Joint Commission will begin surveying the remaining states (except Texas) on February 14, 2022. It is not clear when surveys will begin in Texas, as the deadlines for compliance with the interim final rule differ from the other 49 states.

The interim final rule, and thus Joint Commission surveying, applies to the following Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers: Ambulatory Surgical Centers; Hospices; Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly facilities; Hospitals; Long Term Care facilities; Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities; Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities; Home Health Agencies; Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities; Critical Access Hospitals; Clinics (rehabilitation agencies; and public health agencies as providers of outpatient physical therapy and speech-language pathology services); Community Mental Health Centers; Home Infusion Therapy suppliers; Rural Health Clinics/Federally Qualified Health Centers; and End-Stage Renal Disease Facilities.

Affected providers and suppliers would be well served to review the interim final rule and their current compliance with its requirements in anticipation of potential upcoming Joint Commission surveying.