Federal regulation prompts Dayton Children’s, Kettering Health vaccine mandate changes

KETTERING — Kettering Health and Dayton Children’s Hospital have announced they will no longer be able to accept proof of previous COVID-19 infection, pregnancy, and some other previously approved temporary exemptions in order to be compliant with new standards set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

>> ‘It’s a lot of hurt,’ 648 employees impacted by Kettering Tenneco plant closure

“As the COVID-19 pandemic and surrounding regulatory landscape have continued to change, we often must adapt our approach—as we have done throughout the pandemic—to ensure it aligns with the most recent information and appropriate federal requirements,” Kettering Health said in a statement. “CMS recently published standards for COVID-19 vaccination requirements and, after extensively reviewing them, we updated portions of our vaccine requirement policy, including guidance on temporary exemptions and proof of previous infection, to ensure it is in compliance.”

Anyone who was granted a temporary exemption or deferral for the following health reasons is no longer considered compliant and will have to get vaccinated with their final dose by Jan. 4:

  • Naturally immune from COVID-19 based on a prior COVID-19 infection (provided proof through anti-body test)
  • Pregnancy
  • Trying to Conceive
  • Breast Feeding

“In response to new standards set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the COVID-19 vaccine, Dayton Children’s will no longer accept proof of previous COVID-19 infection, pregnancy and some other previously approved deferrals in order to comply with new standards put in place by CMS,” Dayton Children’s said. “As always, all of our decisions regarding COVID vaccination requirements, including exemptions and deferrals, will be subject to any new rules CMS imposes.”

Dayton Children’s said its vaccination deadline date for those who did not previously have an approved medical or religious exemption remains Dec. 1.

Premier Health said it is continuing to evaluate the new federal rule and intends to be fully compliant with it.

The Biden-Harris administration, via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an emergency regulation on Nov. 4 requiring COVID-19 vaccination of eligible staff at health care facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. According to the regulation, “All eligible staff must have received the necessary shots to be fully vaccinated – either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4, 2022.”

“The regulation also provides for exemptions based on recognized medical conditions or religious beliefs, observances, or practices. Facilities must develop a similar process or plan for permitting exemptions in alignment with federal law,” according to CMS.

>> CMS VACCINE REQUIREMENT FAQS

The CMS said it plans to enforce the regulation through established survey and enforcement processes.

“If a provider or supplier does not meet the requirements, it will be cited by a surveyor as being non-compliant and have an opportunity to return to compliance before additional actions occur,” CMS said in a statement. “CMS’s goal is to bring health care providers into compliance. However, the Agency will not hesitate to use its full enforcement authority to protect the health and safety of patients.”

The newly released regulation also will apply to hospice, long-term care and other facilities.