WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – President Joe Biden has mandated that nursing homes require all employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of receiving federal funding.
The policy’s date of implementation has yet to be announced, but “all nursing homes will have to require staff members to be vaccinated to keep receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding, which will affect about 15,000 nursing homes and more than 1.3 million employees,” NBC News reported Wednesday.
“Nursing homes heavily depend on Medicare and Medicaid funds, and some have raised concerns that they would lose staff members if they required them to be vaccinated in an already tight job market,” NBC continued.
“With this announcement, I’m using the power of the federal government, as a payer of healthcare costs, to ensure we reduce those risks to our most vulnerable seniors,” Biden said in his Wednesday comments.
“If you visit, live, or work in a nursing home, you should not be at a high risk for contracting COVID from unvaccinated employees,” Biden said.
Trade associations representing nursing home and elder care facilities have said they want to vaccinate employees but have already struggled to hire and keep staff.
However, the lobbying groups generally want the mandate to apply to all healthcare organizations, since they compete with hospitals and other medical groups for the same employees.
“Vaccination mandates for health care personnel should be applied to all health care settings. Without this, nursing homes face a disastrous workforce challenge,” Mark Parkinson of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living said, according to the Washington Post.
His organization surveyed 616 nursing homes and found 94 percent were experiencing staffing issues.
The CEO of a hospital system in Tennessee said that a vaccine mandate for his employees could lead to more health problems, as he would lose staff.
“If today I said, ‘everybody’s required to take the vaccine or you’re terminated,’ then I have a problem being able to take care of people who show up to our ER with strokes, or chest pains, or medical admissions or surgical admissions,” Alan Levine told a local news station in late July.
Unionized staff at medical facilities have also opposed vaccine requirements.
“Whether there is a legal challenge that we can make, or whether it’s just a pure organizational challenge that we can make, we are not going to just give in,” George Grisham of the Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU) in New York said in June.
While Biden has said he wants to reduce nursing home deaths, his administration has withdrawn an investigation into them in New York.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) had launched an investigation into outgoing New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s cover-up of nursing home deaths after he ordered the facilities to accept COVID-infected patients.
However, the Biden DOJ closed the investigation in July.