U.S. District Court ruling means CMS Interim Final Rule will not be implemented/enforced at UTMB, pending further Court order
As you are aware, UTMB announced its intention to comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule, which requires all members of the UTMB workforce and student body—faculty; staff; licensed practitioners, including community physicians with hospital privileges at UTMB; students; trainees; volunteers; and contracted staff—to receive the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine by December 6, 2021, and to receive the second dose of a two-dose COVD-19 vaccine for full vaccination by January 4, 2022.
On November 16, 2021, the State of Texas filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction requesting that covered entities in the State of Texas be temporarily stopped from implementing and enforcing CMS’ Interim Final Rule. Other states also filed Motions for Temporary Restraining Orders and Preliminary Injunctions, including the State of Louisiana.
On November 30, 2021, the United States District Court, Western District of Louisiana, Monroe Division granted the State of Louisiana’s motion and temporarily restrained CMS from implementing its vaccination mandate. This Court’s order applies nationwide to all health care providers, suppliers, owners, employees, and all others covered by the CMS vaccination mandate.
Based on this ruling, UTMB will immediately cease all implementation and enforcement of the Interim Final Rule pending further Court order. Accordingly, all individuals who were previously advised that they would not be permitted to work, perform services or attend class at UTMB based on non-compliance with the Interim Final Rule can report to UTMB on December 6, 2021. However, you must continue to follow UTMB’s established COVID-19 policies and procedures as set forth in https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/employees-studentswhile on-site.
If you have an approved medical and/or religious exemption and accommodation to CMS’ Interim Final Rule, you may disregard the accommodation at this time, but you must continue to follow UTMB’s established COVID-19 policies and procedures as set forth above.
If you have a pending medical and/or religious exemption request and/or accommodation request, no decisions will be made until a further Court order is issued.
We will keep you updated on any additional Court orders related to the federal CMS vaccine mandate. Thank you for your continuing commitment to our mission and flexibility in an evolving situation.
Ben G. Raimer, MD, MA, FAAP