U.S. district court blocks CMS mandate


Missouri court blocks Medicare vaccine mandate in 10 states including Iowa, pending a trial


FORT MADISON - A Missouri U.S. District Court judge has granted a petition on behalf of the state of Missouri to enjoin 10 states, including Iowa, from enforcing a mandate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that requires all health care providers getting Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to be vaccinated.

Judge Matthew T. Schelp issued the order Monday writing that the "CMS likely did not lawfully enact its mandate" and "the plaintiffs have put forth evidence this mandate would have a detrimental effect on the health and well- of their citizens."

Hospitals and health care providers already suffering staffing shortages would experience additional workforce issues if the mandate was upheld, Schelp wrote in his order.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who said she believes the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19, said the ruling is part of her administration's fight against what she called President Joe Biden's attack on individual liberties.

“Iowa is fighting back against the Biden Administration’s attack on individual liberties and I applaud the court’s decision to enjoin the vaccine mandate rule for Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers. Medical providers that have been on the frontlines of this pandemic saving lives deserve the freedom and ability to make their own informed health care decisions," Reynolds wrote in release Monday afternoon.

“I believe the vaccine is the best defense against COVID-19, but I also firmly believe in Iowans’ right to make health care decisions based on what’s best for themselves and their families, and I remain committed to protecting those freedoms. President Biden should do the same.”   

Great River Health Systems was staring at more than 30% of its workforce on all campuses and facilities being terminated under the mandate.

A group of close to 130 met last Monday at Comfort Inn and Suites in Burlington after a previous meeting the week before in West Burlington to organize opposition to the mandate.

A private Facebook page with more than 1,000 members in it was formed to communicate information about the mandate, along with other exemption discussions and updates on OSHA and CMS mandate status.

Schelp wrote in his conclusion that although the parties disagree in the magnitude of the impact of the mandate on health care providers, there is no argument that there will be a disruption.

The judge cited case law that says there is clearly a robust public interest in safeguarding prompt access to health care and the impending disruption would put that access in jeopardy.

"The Court finds that in balancing the equities, the scales clearly fall on the side of healthcare facilities operating with unvaccinated employees, staff, trainees, students, volunteers, and contractors rather than the swift irremediable impact of requiring healthcare facilities to choose between two undesirable choices - providing substandard care or providing no healthcare at all."

Read the complete ruling below:

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