February 11, 2022

Manchin Secures CMS Commitment That West Virginia Healthcare Providers Will Have Maximum Flexibility In Meeting Vaccine Requirement

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) secured a commitment from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure that West Virginia’s rural healthcare providers will have maximum flexibility in meeting CMS’s vaccine requirement. Under the CMS requirement, healthcare providers receiving funding from CMS must require and ensure their staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Many facilities in West Virginia are facing dire staffing shortages, making the possibility of any further staff reductions an unacceptable option for both hospitals and patients alike. 

“Yesterday, I called CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure to discuss the need for allowing rural healthcare facilities maximum flexibility in meeting the CMS vaccine requirement to ensure healthcare providers in West Virginia can continue providing West Virginians the quality, affordable care they deserve. Administrator Brooks-LaSure told me that the goal of CMS is to help hospitals get their staff vaccinated, not kick them out of the Medicare program. She assured me that facilities will not be kicked out of the Medicare program if their entire staff isn’t fully vaccinated as long as facilities are making a good faith effort to vaccinate staff and implement best safety practices. According to the West Virginia Rural Health Association, our rural hospitals generally have a 92-93% vaccination rate. I continue to encourage every West Virginian to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID-19. At the same time, we must ensure our hospitals can remain open to provide critical care to our fellow West Virginians. I will continue to communicate with CMS and our healthcare providers as we work together to protect all West Virginians from COVID-19 and ensure healthcare facilities have the staff and resources they need.”