Press "Enter" to skip to content

Attorney General Ashley Moody challenges vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

Per an announcement released on Thursday, November 19, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is suing the Biden administration over the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ vaccine mandate that Moody calls “unlawful” and that she says threatens to exacerbate the healthcare worker shortage.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Vaccine Mandate requires a wide range of Medicare-certified health care facilities, providers, and suppliers to ensure their employees (both part-time and full-time), licensed practitioners, volunteers, students, trainees, and contractors are all vaccinated.

This vaccination mandate also applies to individuals who provide care, treatment, or other medical services.

Additionally, the mandate applies to facilities that are regulated under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ conditions of participation, conditions for coverage, or requirements and subject to CMS health and safety regulations.

This includes facilities such as hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, home health providers, hospices, and skilled nursing facilities.

According to Moody’s office, the mandate comes as the nation is already experiencing a health care labor crisis.

“More than 90% of long-term care facilities in Florida report staffing shortages and President Biden’s unlawful mandate will make the situation worse,” Moody’s office states.

A poll published in October by the KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) found that more than 70% of unvaccinated workers said that they would quit a job if vaccination became a prerequisite of employment.

“President Biden, who once lauded these medical professionals as heroes sacrificing their safety to save Americans from COVID, now abandons them in a feeble attempt to score political points at the worst possible time,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said, calling the mandate a ‘disastrous policy decision based on politics’.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also pitched in his thoughts on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ mandate and Attorney General Moody’s lawsuit.

“I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs. Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates,” said DeSantis.

Attorney General Moody filed the Complaint for Temporary Restraining Order in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola.

The complaint names the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, HHS, United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Chiquita Brooks-Lasure and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as defendants.

The complaint demands that the court immediately enjoin and set aside the CMS vaccine rule.

According to the complaint filed Wednesday afternoon, Florida stands to lose millions of dollars in Medicaid and Medicare payouts as a result of the rule.

Health care facilities stand to lose patients as many medical professionals are expected to resign instead of being forced to receive the vaccine.

Floridians stand to lose expedient, expert care as the mass resignation would come amid one of, if not the, worst health care staffing shortages in the nation’s history.

The complaint outlines what Moody considers the nature of the rule unlawful, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services lacks the authority to impose the mandate and it did not consult with states before implementing the vaccine requirement.

According to her office’s press release, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also failed to allow comment on the rule ahead of implementation.

According to the rule published on November 5, health care workers at facilities receiving Medicare or Medicaid funding in Florida have until December 6 to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The deadline to become “fully vaccinated” is January 4, 2022.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Moody took legal action against the unlawful vaccine mandate for workers at companies with 100 or more employees.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit took up a similar case and quickly issued a stay on the requirement.

In October, Attorney General Moody filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration to stop the requirement that federal government contractors ensure that all employees receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

In September, Attorney General Moody warned President Biden to drop attempts to force vaccine mandates on Floridians.

Special to The Herald