Hospitals are facing the fallout from the Supreme Court’s vaccine mandate ruling

Throughout 21 states and the District of Columbia have already mandated vaccines for healthcare workers, six — Texas, Montana, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia — have introduced bans barring some employers from requiring vaccines. Eighteen states had no health worker requirements, while five, including Utah, Arizona and Michigan, exempted health organizations from bans on vaccination requirements.

The Supreme Court ruling affected two dozen states that were the subject of federal injunctions barring the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from issuing a mandate. About 10 million workers in around 76,000 healthcare facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities, are affected by the regulation.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis called the new federal policy “insane” at a news conference Thursday. The state’s Health Services Management Agency also said it would not question health facilities on compliance with the vaccination mandate. On Friday, Mr. DeSantis reiterated his position, posting on Twitter that Florida would reject federal mandates “rooted in politics, not medicine.”

Still, federal laws typically supersede or “preempt” conflicting state and local laws, and by allowing the mandate for healthcare workers, the Supreme Court ruled, at least implicitly, that it overrode state laws requiring immunization requirements in facilities attached to it participate, prohibit Medicaid and Medicare programs.

The specter of potentially losing federal funds if they don’t comply has already prompted some hospital chains to require vaccinations for workers who don’t qualify for a medical or religious exemption.

“If we fail to comply with the CMS mandate, we could impact our ability to serve our communities and care for patients under the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” an HCA spokesman said in a statement. The scheme, which employs around 275,000 workers, said more than 90 percent of its workers were vaccinated or qualified for an exemption.

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