The CMS would require long-term-care facilities to offer all residents annual flu immunizations as a condition of participation in Medicare and Medicaid and also at least one vaccination against pneumonia if there's no record of previous vaccination.
The proposal, published in today's Federal Register, would support HHS' goal of 90% vaccination rates for those viruses among adults 65 and older by 2010. According to Medicare data, the current rates are about 70% for influenza and about 65% for the pneumococcal virus. The CMS will accept comments on the proposal until Aug. 30.
The American Health Care Association, a long-term-care trade group, said the proposal would force nursing homes to spend resources researching and proving residents' vaccination status. In the case of a vaccine shortage, the proposal could prevent vaccinations from reaching those most in need, the association said. Read the proposal.