On June 16, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new QSO Memo, “Rescission of the January 25, 2022 memo regarding Vaccination Expectations for Surveyors Performing Federal Oversight (QSO-22-10-ALL) and removal from its guidance repository.” The Memo, which is essentially the same as its long title, states that the Agency is rescinding the QSO Memo from January 2022 which required surveyors to be vaccinated to perform on-site surveys. This Memo applauds State Agencies that have established COVID-19 vaccination programs for surveyors and states that surveyors performing federal oversight surveys will be “encouraged” to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
CMS also changed its guidance for surveyors related to reviewing providers’ compliance with staff COVID-19 vaccination last week. That QSO Memo made it clear that vaccination mandate compliance will only be reviewed if there is a complaint about staff vaccination. These two pieces of guidance could indicate that maybe we are finally moving past the focus on vaccination statistics and reporting requirements and can put more emphasis back on quality of care.