The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a new Order for healthcare employers in California on August 5, 2021. The Order mandates that almost all healthcare employers require their healthcare workers or any other worker in the facility, to be fully vaccinated unless the worker qualifies for a religious or medical exemption. The Order came into effect on August 5, 2021.
Key takeaways from the Order are:
- Healthcare Facilities: The Order lists a number of facilities to which the Order shall be applicable to, such as: General Acute Care Hospitals, Skilled Nursing Facilities (including Subacute Facilities), Intermediate Care Facilities, Acute Psychiatric Hospitals, Adult Day Health Care Centers, Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and PACE Centers, Ambulatory Surgery Centers etc.
- Applicability of Order: The Order shall apply to all the workers who provide services or work in the facilities listed in the Order. In the Order, “worker” includes all paid and unpaid individuals who work in indoor settings where (1) care is provided to patients or (2) patients have access for any purpose. It also applies to contractual staff not employed by the healthcare facility and persons not directly involved in patient care but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting.
- Exemptions: The Order exempts workers from the vaccination requirements only if (1) the worker is declining vaccination based on religious beliefs or (2) the worker is excused from receiving vaccine due to medical reasons.
- Maintenance of records: The Order states that is hall be the responsibility of the facility to maintain records of workers’ vaccination, exemption status and COVID-19 testing results consistent with all applicable privacy laws and regulations. The facility must provide these records to the local or state Public Health Officer or their designee promptly upon request, and in any event no later than the next business day after receiving the request.
- Compliance by Sept. 30: All facilities shall comply with the requirements of vaccination by September 30, 2021. It means workers who provide services or work in facilities described in the Order must have their first dose of a one-dose regimen (Johnson and Johnson) or their second dose of a two-dose regimen (Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech) by September 30, 2021, absent a medical or religious exemption.
*Tanvi Singh, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.