The Florida Health Care Association issued a statement supporting the Biden administration’s policy related to vaccine requirements for Healthcare workers.

On Thursday, the Biden administration said that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will require the COVID vaccine for healthcare workers at facilities that operate using Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement, or that are “CMS-regulated.”

The requirement will apply to approximately 50,000 healthcare providers which include hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, home health agencies, and any other CMS-regulated settings.

Regulated settings include clinical staff, individuals providing services under arrangements, volunteers, and staff who are not involved in direct patient, resident, or client care, according to a press release from the White House.

The release also states that the new requirement “builds on” the Biden administration and the CMS’ decision in August to require the COVID vaccine for nursing home employees as CMS-regulated facilities.

A day after Biden’s nursing home requirement was announced, Florida Health Care Association Chief Executive Officer Emmett Reed made an official statement in opposition of the requirement. The statement suggests that only having a requirement for nursing homes would negatively impact the staff shortage Florida nursing homes are already facing.

It said, “We appreciate our state and national leaders’ efforts to keep COVID-19 rates low, and our long-term care centers have been working tirelessly for more than a year and a half with the same goal in mind. However, by the Federal Government singling out nursing homes with a vaccination requirement that does not apply to health care personnel at other locations and in other health care sectors, we fear that our already critical workforce shortages will worsen.”

Although it is unclear exactly why there would be a staff shortage, with the new requirement expanding to all CMS-regulated facilities, Reed and the FHCA’s concerns have shifted.

Reed issued a statement Thursday following Biden’s announcement regarding the new requirement for healthcare workers that made no reference to staff shortages and made it seem like the concern was always about the health risk of their residents.

“We appreciate the Administration and CMS for listening to the concerns about a federal mandate that only applied to nursing home staff. A broadened vaccination policy will help protect our residents who often interact with other health care professionals for their care needs. We know the vaccine is the safest way to protect our residents, and we support efforts that will help get more people vaccinated,” he said.

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]