Hospitals are required to report COVID-19 data to the federal government. However, the nature of these reporting requirements continues to change, making compliance difficult.
Below, we’ll look at the challenges of maintaining compliance with an ever-changing set of regulations, as well as how hospital Employee Health (EH) departments can use software tools to ease this burden.
What To Know About Healthcare Worker Vaccine Mandates
The Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private employers on January 13, 2022.1 However, the court allowed a separate mandate for health care workers to stand, and it applies to anyone working in a facility that participates in Medicare and Medicaid.
The COVID-19 vaccine mandate applies to all employees, licensed practitioners, students, trainees, contractors, and volunteers in these healthcare facilities. It also extends to those who provide services offsite, such as home healthcare workers and staff outside formal clinical settings, including those who work in administrative offices. 2
Reporting Requirements for Staying Compliant
Vaccination is the only option for full compliance. Federal regulations do not allow healthcare facilities to substitute regular testing in lieu of vaccination. 3
Employee health departments should collect compliance weekly. However, facilities may choose to report the data monthly to the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network. 4 Requirements include the number of healthcare staff, students, volunteers, and contractors who must comply, how many of them received a full course of the vaccine, how many received boosters, and the number of people who have a medical contraindication or are non-compliant due to declining the vaccine on religious or philosophical grounds or simply refusing to be vaccinated.5
Challenges of Staying Compliant With Reporting Requirements
Monitoring COVID-19 vaccination among HCPs will likely result in increased vaccinations because it allows employee health departments to identify those not in compliance with mandates. But collecting these numbers is no easy task, and it can be nearly impossible with an understaffed EH department.
Increased administrative burdens and shifting requirements have been disruptive to EH departments, especially since these employees still need to collect other EH data, including influenza vaccine compliance. The prospect of losing Medicaid and Medicaid funding, the final ramification of non-compliance, can add more stress to this job.
How EH Departments Can Improve Vaccine Mandate Reporting Requirements
EH departments must confirm compliance via certified paperwork, continuously track compliance rates, report those numbers to the proper authorities, arrange for the administration of a vaccine to those who are not in compliance, process and confirm any legitimate exemptions, and identify non-compliant individuals for Human Resources.
Vaccination and tracking software can make this data collection and compliance tracking much easier by allowing employees to upload their compliance documents and receive automated reminders about new vaccine requirements. EH staff can monitor compliance via easy-to-read dashboards and run reports based on internal requirements or new federal and state rules.
Net Health® Employee Health can help manage vaccine status and other compliance tracking without the hassle of paperwork since the latter is not only time-consuming but significantly less secure when it comes to storing employee health data.
Note: Net Health makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any of the information presented herein. All information is provided on an as-is basis. It is the viewer’s responsibility to verify any and all information presented herein.
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1 Supreme Court of the United States, “Biden v. Missouri,” January 13, 2022.
2 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, “CMS Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule,” January 20, 2002.
3 American Hospital Association, “Updates on Legal Challenges to CMS and OSHA Vaccine Mandate Rule,” January 13, 2022.
4 National Healthcare Safety Network, “Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Module for Healthcare Personnel,” January 2022.
5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Reporting and FAQs For Hospitals, Hospital Laboratory, and Acute Care Facility Data Reporting,” January 6, 2022.