Governor Baker expands COVID-19 vaccine requirement for caregivers

Coronavirus Local Impact

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Baker-Polito Administration announced Wednesday plans to require all staff at rest homes, assisted living residences, hospice programs, and home care workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

This is a continuation of the plan announced in early August that called for employees of skilled nursing facilities to wear masks in an effort to protect older adults from the virus. If the mandate is approved by the Public Health Council, it would cover 62 rest homes, 268 assisted living residences, 85 hospice programs and up to 100,000 home care workers across the state.

All medical workers included in this mandate would be required to get the vaccine by October 31st, 2021 unless they qualify for an exemption based on medical or sincerely held religious beliefs. For employees of rest homes, assisted living residences, and hospice programs, the mandate applies both to those directly by an agency and independent contractors who regularly enter these medical facilities.

The vaccination requirement for home care workers applies to employees providing in-home care who are employed by an agency that is contracted or subcontracted with the Commonwealth. This includes:

  • Home health agencies enrolled in the MassHealth program
  • Home care agencies providing services under the state’s home care program
  • Continuous Skilled Nursing agencies enrolled in the MassHealth program
  • Hospice programs or Group Adult Foster Care agencies enrolled in the MassHealth program delivering personal care services that assist individuals with eating, toileting, dressing, bathing, transferring, and mobility.

The vaccination mandate also applies to independent, non-agency-based home care workers contracted with the state providing in-home, direct care including:

  • Independent Nurses enrolled in the MassHealth program
  • Personal Care Attendants providing services through the MassHealth program
  • Consumer Directed Care workers providing services under EOEA’s self-directed program.

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