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October 27, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and What This Means For Your Agency

COVID-19 has altered the home care space as much as, if not more than, everything else in our daily lives. Now that several vaccines are FDA approved, mandates have begun rolling out across various states requiring home care agencies to ensure their caregivers are compliant. Through trying to stay up to date on this ever-changing landscape, we’ve noticed just how unique every state’s situation is. We know this can be hard to manage for your home care agency, so we wanted to create one location for all the information your agency needs specific to your state. 

We've compiled a list of resources for each state and their specific mandates and legislation regarding vaccinations and their impact on the home care industry.  This information has changed quickly for many states so be sure to seek additional advice locally if you have questions. We hope this resource helps set your agency up to be vaccine compliant for the remainder of 2021 and into next year.

In September 2021, the Biden Administration came out with its plan to ensure that vaccinations against the COVID-19 pandemic continue to move forward to protect those in our community. Over 17 million health care workers at Medicare and Medicaid participating hospitals and other health care settings.

 

What this means for your home care agency

According to the Biden Administration COVID Plan, “The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work.” 

If your state has announced a specific deadline that all caregivers need to be vaccinated by, then staying on top of their vaccination status is crucial. According to Home Health Care News, more than 30,000 New York home care workers failed to meet the October 7th deadline and now face termination. Not only does this noncompliance put these people out of jobs, but it also severely decreases the number of caregivers available to serve our vulnerable population. 

We highly recommend using this tool to monitor vaccination status for your caregivers to prevent a drastic loss of agency staff. Proof of Vaccination allows your caregivers to easily upload their vaccine information directly through the app which speeds up the tracking process for your agency staff. The more efficient your caregivers can be with certain tasks, such as submitting their vaccinations for approval, the better able they are to provide more attention and better overall care to their patients. And with rapid decreases in available caregivers, the easier it is to perform admin work to prove compliance, the less stressed and happier they will be on the job.

 

“Is my home care agency required to comply?”

During our research to compile this information, we saw some sources stating that since the mandates state “home healthcare,” that it doesn’t apply to the unskilled home care industry. However, OSHA defines home healthcare as “workers who may be home health aides, personal/home care aides, companions, nursing assistants or home health nurses [that are] are employed in patients' homes and in community-based services such as group homes.” Therefore, it is safe to assume that even if a mandate doesn’t explicitly say “home care,” it falls under the umbrella of “home healthcare” and your agency is still likely required to comply.

While there isn’t currently a federal vaccine mandate, multiple states have implemented their own mandates. We’ve listed resources below to help you find information in your state.

*This post is meant to serve as an educational tool. Due to the ever-changing vaccination landscape and information delivered in each state, we recommend you contact your local government for further guidance

 

Alabama - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Alaska - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Arizona - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Arkansas - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

California 

Health Care Worker Vaccine Requirement - This announcement states all healthcare workers must be fully vaccinated by September 30, 2021.

Adult Care Facilities and Direct Care Worker Vaccine Requirement - This announcement states that all individuals listed must have the first dose of a one-dose regimen or the second dose of a two-dose regimen by November 30, 2021.

Colorado - All state employees are required to be fully vaccinated by September 20th and healthcare employees are required to have full dosage by October 31st

Connecticut - All state hospital and long-term care employees must receive their first vaccine dosage by September 27, 2021

Delaware - All state hospital and long-term care employees must receive their first vaccine dosage by September 30, 2021

Florida - Does not allow the requirement of vaccines for any employee

Georgia - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies and no official announcement from the governor

Hawaii - Vaccine or testing mandate for all state and county employees by August 16, 2021; individual healthcare systems have been implementing their own mandates, so confirm on their website for up-to-date information

Idaho - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Illinois - All healthcare workers must receive their first dose of a two-dose vaccine or single dose by October 16, 2021 (extended from September 19, 2021)

Indiana - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Iowa - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however House File 889 prohibiting mandatory disclosure of vaccination status

Kansas - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Kentucky - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Louisiana - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Maine - The state will begin enforcing the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers on October 29, 2021

Maryland - All healthcare workers in nursing homes and hospitals are required to be fully vaccinated by September 1, 2021

Massachusetts - All home care agency employees must be vaccinated by October 31, 2021

Michigan - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Minnesota - State mandate for state employees; individual healthcare systems have been implementing their own mandates, so confirm on their website for up-to-date information

Mississippi - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Missouri - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Montana - Does not allow the requirement of vaccines for any employee, with an exemption for licensed nursing homes, long-term care facilities, or assisted living facilities

Nebraska - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Nevada - All employees that work with vulnerable populations in state-operated, licensed health care settings or state-operated detention facilities must provide proof of vaccination by November 1, 2021

New Hampshire - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

New Jersey - All home care agency employees must be vaccinated by September 7, 2021

New Mexico - Vaccination mandate for certain healthcare workers by August 23, 2021

New York - All healthcare workers must be vaccinated by September 27, 2021

North Carolina - Requirement for state employees to be fully vaccinated by September 1, 2021, with support of hospital systems requiring vaccinations for all healthcare workers

North Dakota - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Ohio - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Oklahoma - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Oregon - Health care workers will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, or six weeks after full FDA approval, whichever is later.

Pennsylvania - All commonwealth employees in state health care facilities and high-risk congregate-care facilities will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 7, 2021

Rhode Island - All employees, interns, and volunteers in RIDOH-licensed healthcare facilities and all RIDOH-licensed healthcare providers must receive their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 1, 2021

South CarolinaCurrently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

South DakotaCurrently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Tennessee Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Texas - No entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including an employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.

Utah - Governmental entity may not require, directly or indirectly, that an individual receive an emergency COVID-19 vaccine unless the individual is both acting in a public health or medical setting and required to receive vaccinations in order to perform the employee’s assigned duties and responsibilities, or pursuant to a non-discretionary requirement under federal law.

Vermont Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Virginia - State workers are required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 every week starting September 1, 2021

Washington - Proclamation 21-14 states a requirement for most state workers, and on-site contractors and volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. State employees and workers in private health care and long-term care settings will have until October 18, 2021 to be fully vaccinated.

The governor released FAQs following Proclamation 21-14, which adds that the vaccination proclamation applies to “employees in private sector health care and in long term care settings including but not limited to nursing homes, adult family homes, assisted living, enhanced services facilities, RTFs, and other treatment facilities.”

West Virginia -  Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Wisconsin - Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

Wyoming -  Currently no state mandate impacting home care agencies, however, agencies may require vaccination

 

Looking for help getting and staying compliant? CareConnect is a leading workforce optimization platform built specifically for home care agencies that does just that, from hiring to shift booking to eLearning. Reach out to our team today to learn how we can help you!

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Disclaimer: 

CareConnect provides the materials in this update for informational purposes only. Recipients should not construe the update as legal advice and should consult with an attorney before acting or relying upon the information contained herein.