Arkansas Children’s Hospital has resumed requiring vaccinations for employees, barring a medical or religious exemption, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the federal rule that requires vaccinated employees at organizations that receive Medicare and Medicaid money.

State law prohibits state agencies from imposing such a rule, though they may receive a legislative waiver to do so. Action is to come from the legislature soon on whether Arkansas will follow the federal rule or risk the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid funding. The state HAS said it will comply with the rule requiring it to survey private recipients of Medicaid money, such as nursing homes, to ensure they are complying with the rule.

Advertisement

Notice to Children’s employees spells out how the rule will work. Employees must comply by Feb. 28. In late November, a Children’s spokesman said more than 90 percent of the hospitals’ more than 4,000 employees were vaccinated.

Advertisement

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

COVID-19 Healthcare Staff Vaccination Requirement

ACTION REQUIRED:  No later than MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2022 – ALL team members must receive a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson); or receive a medical or religious exemption.

COMPLIANCE OPTIONS:

NOTE: CMS defines fully vaccinated as having received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson. At this time, CMS does not include booster shots in the requirement.

  • Receive the two-dose Pfizer vaccine by February 28, 2022 (At least 21 days required between first and second dose)
  • Receive the two-dose Moderna vaccine by February 28, 2022 (At least 28 days required between first and second dose)
  • Receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine by February 28, 2022
  • Apply for and receive a medical or religious exemption by February 28, 2022

BACKGROUND:

In November of 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Rule requiring all healthcare staff to receive an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. This requirement applied to Arkansas Children’s and to hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide. In November and December of 2021, the CMS Rule was challenged in courts across the country.

On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court resolved the controversy surrounding the CMS Rule requiring COVID-19 vaccines of healthcare staff.  The Supreme Court found that the Rule was appropriate, and that CMS had the power to pass and enforce the Rule.  Further, failure to comply with the CMS Rule could result in fines, penalties or loss of CMS (Medicaid/Medicare) participation.  For these reasons, Arkansas Children’s will comply with the CMS Rule and require COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of employment for our team members.

 

SCHEDULE YOUR COVID-19 VACCINE

REQUEST FOR MEDICAL AND RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS

  • Occupational Health must receive exemption requests as soon as possible in order to be considered prior to February 21, 2022.
  • Request for Medical and Religious exemptions will be consistent with federal law. All such exemption requests will be processed through Occupational Health:

IF YOU RECEIVED YOUR COVID-19 VACCINE OFFSITE

  • Take a picture of your vaccination record and email it to occupationalhealth@archildrens.org
  • Fax a copy of your vaccination record to Occupational Health at 501-364-6810

QUESTIONS

If you have questions, please contact Occupational Health: