COVID-19 Update
December 9, 2021
Vaccine Mandate Status Update 
Over recent days and weeks there have been significant changes to the vaccine mandate landscape. Below is a summary of where the various mandates stand as of the sending of this email. This information will be updated as the situation unfolds. 
OSHA Covid-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (OSHA ETS)
Published on November 5, 2021, the OSHA ETS was intended to apply to all employers over 100. On November 12 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay enforcement of the ETS ordering OSHA "take no steps to implement or enforce" the ETS "until further Court Order." The Department of Labor has filed a motion to lift the stay, however a decision as not been issued on that motion yet. OSHA has suspended all activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation. On December 8, the Senate voted in favor of overturning the mandate, but the house has not yet voted. 
CMS Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Interim Final Rule (CMS IFR)
The CMS IFR, also published November 5, was intended to apply to employees of most Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers as a condition of participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. On November 29 and November 20, the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri and the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued preliminary injunctions against the implementation and enforcement of the CMS IFR. These decisions have halted enforcement of the CMS IFR nationwide. Much like OSHA, CMS has suspended all activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the IFR pending further developments in the litigation.
Federal Contractor Mandate
A vaccine mandate was issued on September 9 regarding all federal contractors and subcontractors. This week, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction and ordered that the federal vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors cannot be enforced. Although the case was brought by seven states, the order is nationwide. Employers may still encourage vaccination of contracted employees and contracted employees may still choose to be vaccinated. The Biden Administration has indicated they will appeal the ruling. We will continue to monitor events surrounding this injunction and provide updates. The civil action and court order can be viewed here.
NYC Private Sector Mandate
On December 6, 2021 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a broad vaccine mandate that would require vaccination of all private sector employees by December 27, 2021. Details of what this mandate will look like have not yet been released, but that has not stopped opponents of the mandate from pursing legal objections. It has yet to be seen how this will unfold. 
NYS Limit on Non-Essential Elective Procedures in Hospitals
In response to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across the state, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) has again activated the Surge and Flex Health Care Coordination System. A similar practice was enacted back in April of 2020 and again last winter. DOH will complete their assessment of which facilities must limit non-essential elective procedures and notify those impacted facilities, who will then be required to limit non-essential elective procedures. We raise this DOH action as it may impact procedures that people we support receive from hospitals. DOH published a document identifying procedures that are exempted from the limit. Chapters should share this guidance with all employees engaged with medical appointment management to determine what impact this may have on any scheduled or planned appointments.   
OPWDD Appendix K Vaccination Incentive Payment Program Webinar Recording
The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) posted a recording of their December 12 webinar on Workforce Investments and the Appendix K. The webinar addresses the recent Appendix K Waiver amendment that includes American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) workforce incentives and bonuses. More information on these initiatives can be found here

This and all related updates will be cataloged on The Arc New York COVID-19 Resource Page for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
CONTACT: Josh Christiana, Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations
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