Supreme Court building

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a legal challenge to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare workers at nursing homes and other facilities that receive federal dollars.

The justices rejected an appeal brought in May by attorneys general in 10 states — Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming — after the St. Louis-based US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit declined to hear their petition. The plaintiffs had asked the court to review the constitutionality of the federal vaccine mandate and also questioned whether CMS properly followed the rulemaking process. They also said that the mandate was causing disruption in the healthcare workforce, particularly in small, rural communities.

Approximately 10.4 million healthcare workers across the country are subject to the mandate, which allows for medical and religious exemptions.

In January, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to block the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccination-and-testing rule for large businesses, including senior living providers, but it voted 5-4 to let the CMS mandate proceed, lifting two injunctions against it. At the time, the justices wrote that one function of the Department of Health and Human Services, of which CMS is a part, and “perhaps the most basic, given the department’s core mission — is to ensure that the healthcare providers who care for Medicare and Medicaid patients protect their patients’ health and safety.”

OSHA later withdrew its mandate.

The case rejected today was Missouri v. Biden.