The Biden administration announced Wednesday its plan to require nursing home employees across the country to receive the vaccination for COVID-19 in order to receive federal Medicaid and Medicare funding.

Given the fact that Florida is a common retirement destination for people across the country, it is home to almost 700 nursing homes out of more than 15,000 nursing homes in the U.S. that will be affected by the mandate.

Wednesday’s announcement of the new policy came during a White House address where President Biden made a statement saying:

“More than 130,000 residents in nursing homes have sadly – over the period of this virus – passed away. At the same time, vaccination rates among nursing home staff significantly trail the rest of the country. The studies show that highly vaccinated nursing home staff is associated with at least 30% less COVID-19 cases among long-term care residents. With this announcement, I am using the power of the federal government as a payer of healthcare costs to ensure we reduce those risks to our most vulnerable seniors.”

According to the News Service of Florida, the director of reimbursement for the Florida Health Care Association, Tom Parker, stressed the impact of the mandate in Florida by saying that its nursing homes rely heavily on Medicaid and Medicare for funding.

To elaborate, Parker explained in the report that on average, Medicaid – which is funded by both the state and federal governments – makes up for 51% of a facility’s overall funding.

As far as Medicare, Parker told The News Service that it is strictly funded by the federal government and accounts for an additional 30% of the revenue in Florida nursing homes. This means that Medicaid and Medicare alone account for 81% of funding for nursing homes, while the other 19% is made up of funding from private insurance, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and people making out-of-pocket expenses.

Prior to the nursing home mandate, the Biden administration had previously made it a requirement for all government employees – including the military – to get vaccinated.

Biden concludes the nursing home announcement referencing his previous actions, stating, “If you walk into a government office building, you should know that federal workers are doing everything possible to keep you safe. If you’re a veteran seeking care at a VA hospital, you should not be at a greater risk walking into the hospital than you were outside the hospital. And now, if you visit, live or work in a nursing home, you should not be at a high risk for contracting COVID from unvaccinated employees.”

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to caseyowensreports@gmail.com.
Photo “Florida National Guard” by The National Guard. CC BY 2.0.