How Do State Vaccine Mandates Apply to Home Care?

Legislation | August 27, 2021 | by Dee Pekruhn

Now that approximately half of the states have issued some form of mandate for employee COVID vaccination, Home Care members are wondering whether these mandates apply to their workers. Below, we quickly summarize what we know to date on this question, based on a review of the state mandate language. This article is written based on evolving data and is up to date as of Friday, August 27 2021.

Of the twenty-one known states to mandate the COVID vaccine for healthcare workers, seven of those states have language that appears to include Home Care workers. We include states that have language in their Emergency Orders or Public Health Orders that specific all health care “workers” or “settings” are to mandate the vaccine for employees. The other fourteen states under our review do not appear to include Home Care workers, either because the language specifies that only healthcare “facilities” and/or “state workers” are required to mandate the vaccine.

Here below, we list out those states in each category, with hyperlinks to the source documents. Additionally, we offer comments on a few states with specific language that includes Home Care among the provider groups required to mandate the vaccine.

States that Specify All Healthcare “Workers” or “Settings:”

· California

· Colorado

· District of Columbia

· Maine

· New Jersey

· New York

· Oregon

States that Specify ONLY Healthcare “Facilities” and/or “State Workers:”

· Connecticut

· Delaware

· Illinois

· Kentucky

· Maryland

· Massachusetts

· Mississippi

· Nevada

· New Mexico

· North Carolina

· Pennsylvania

· Rhode Island

· Vermont

· Washington

Interesting Caveats:

· Maine: Maine is one of the few, if not the only, state that explicitly includes Home Care in its listing of health care providers.

· Oregon: Healthcare “settings” language may be a bit of a stretch here to include Home Care, except for the section that refers to “temporary settings” such as mobile clinics and similar. Home care could arguably be grouped into the “temporary settings” category. Providers are encouraged to check with legal counsel to confirm whether or not this mandate applies.

· Washington: Most of the language around the Washington State mandate, including the listing of healthcare providers included in the mandate, imply that the mandate is for setting-based, and not home-based, providers. However, this may be interpreted differently, taken in context of the rest of the document. Providers are encouraged to check with legal counsel to confirm whether or not this mandate applies.

This article tracks an evolving and rapidly changing issue for members; it will be updated as new facts and data are known and confirmed. For questions or comments, please email Dee at dpekruhn@leadingage.org.