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Your Questions Answered: COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements

ISDS has received questions about the federal and state COVID-19 vaccine mandates and how dental team members are impacted. Therefore, we have outlined the current COVID-19 vaccination mandates and their current status.

Illinois Executive Order

In late August, Governor Pritzker issued an Executive Order that required healthcare professionals, including dentists and their staff members, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing.

For more detailed information about the COVID-19 vaccination requirement in Illinois, please refer to the ISDS COVID-19 Resource Information Center. The ISDS COVID-19 Resource Information can be accessed by clicking here.

Current Status: The Governor has re-issued the Executive Order every 30 days (as required by law) and is still in effect.

OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)

The OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard requires employers who have 100 or more employees to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.  

The policy must require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If employees choose not to be vaccinated, the policy must require those employees to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and require face coverings to be worn at work. Under the ETS, employers are also required to provide paid time to workers to get vaccinated and provide paid leave for recovery from side effects.  

The ADA shared HPI/SRI data with the White House Office of Management and Budget on Oct. 26—and filed formal comments with OSHA on Dec. 1—showcasing the low infection rates and exceptionally high vaccination rates in dentistry.

Current Status: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a stay on the standard. Thus, OSHA is currently prohibited from implementing or enforcing the ETS until further court action.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Rule

CMS issued a rule that requires all individuals who work in certain facilities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The CMS rule does not provide a testing option. This rule would not impact private dental offices that participate in Medicaid, but it would affect dental team members who work in facilities such as those listed below.

The following facilities are covered under the CMS rule:  

  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers
  • Hospices
  • Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly
  • Hospitals
  • Long Term Care facilities
  • Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities
  • Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Home Health Agencies, Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Critical Access Hospitals
  • Clinics (rehabilitation agencies, and public health agencies as providers of outpatient physical therapy and speech-language pathology services)
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Home Infusion Therapy suppliers
  • Rural Health Clinics/Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • End-Stage Renal Disease Facilities.

Current Status: The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri and the United States District Court for the Western District Court of Louisiana have issued injunctions against the implementation and enforcement of the CMS rule. Therefore, at this time, CMS has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of this rule. 

What does this mean for your dental practice?

At a minimum, all dental practices in Illinois are required to comply with the Governor’s Executive Order. If your practice meets the requirements of compliance for the federal standards, then your practice would be required to comply with the strictest standard. This means if the federal standard is stricter than the state standard then you would be required to comply with the federal standard.  

Please note, this article is strictly informational for ISDS members and does not constitute as legal advice. Also, the information in this article is current as of the publish date (12/15/21). This information could be subject to change at any time.

ISDS will continue to monitor any changes to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate requirements at both the state and federal levels and inform our members accordingly. If you have further questions or concerns, you may e-mail our Associate Director of Governmental Relations, Lindsay Wagahoff.