Health professionals and hospitals confront the fallout from the Supreme Court’s Vaccine Mandate

While 21 states and the District of Columbia have already mandated vaccines for health professionals, six — Texas, Montana, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Georgia — have introduced bans that banned some employers from requiring vaccines. Eighteen states had no requirement for health professionals, while five, including Utah, Arizona and Michigan, exempted health organizations from banning vaccine requirements.

The Supreme Court ruling affected two dozen states that were the subject of federal orders prohibiting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from imposing a mandate. About 10 million workers in about 76,000 healthcare facilities, including hospitals and long-term care facilities, are affected by the requirement.

In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis called the new federal policy “insane” at a news conference Thursday. The state’s Agency for Health Care Administration also said it would not investigate health facilities over vaccine mandate compliance. On Friday, Mr. DeSantis reiterated his stance, posting on Twitter that Florida will reject federal mandates “rooted in political, not medical science.”

Yet federal laws commonly supplant, or “preempt,” opposing state and local laws, and by allowing the mandate for health professionals, the Supreme Court at least implicitly ruled that it was overriding state laws that prohibit vaccination requirements in facilities that participate in the Medicaid regime. and Medicare programs.

The specter of potential loss of federal funding if they don’t follow the rules has already led some hospital chains to demand vaccinations for employees who didn’t qualify for a medical or religious exemption.

“Failing to adhere to the CMS mandate could jeopardize our ability to serve our communities and provide care to patients under the Medicare and Medicaid programs,” an HCA spokesperson said in a statement. statement. The system, which employs about 275,000 workers, said more than 90 percent of workers had been vaccinated or qualified for a waiver.

Federal officials said they would work with hospitals and nursing homes to ensure they can vaccinate their employees, and regulators rarely withdraw federal funds. But many argue that the threat of losing funding remains. “Why risk losing Medicare, which is your lifeline?” asked Mark Neuberger, a lawyer at Foley & Lardner who advises healthcare organizations on labor issues. Other hospital groups, including the Cleveland Clinic, also said they plan to comply. The clinic said about 85 percent of its employees had been vaccinated.