California expands vaccine mandate for healthcare workers

In early August, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a mandate for health care workers to get vaccinated before September 30. Local California government agencies, like the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, have passed similar ordinances that expanded the mandate of the CRPD, for example, to non-medical home health workers.

Then, on September 28, the CRPD broadened its mandate by publishing a new vaccine requirement, the addition of adult care facilities and direct care workers.

As part of its new mandate, the CRPD now requires that covered workers be fully immunized by November 30.

Covered workers

The following workers are covered by the decree:

  • All workers who provide services or work in adult and senior care facilities licensed by the California Department of Social Services.
  • All workers in direct home care services, including registered home health aides and certified home health aides, except workers who only provide services to a beneficiary with whom they live or who are a family member of the beneficiary for whom they are providing services.
  • All Waiver Personal Care Service Providers (WPCS), as defined by the California Department of Health Care Services, and Home Support Service Providers (IHSS), as defined by the California Department of Social Services, with the exception of workers who only provide services to a beneficiary with whom they live or who are a family member of the beneficiary for whom they provide services.
  • All palliative care workers who provide services in the home or in a licensed facility.
  • All employees of regional centers, as well as workers of service providers, who provide services to a consumer through the network of regional centers serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with the exception of workers who provide services only to a beneficiary with whom they live or who is a family member of the beneficiary for whom they provide services.

Derogations

The exceptions for those working from home, WPCS and hospice, as detailed above, only apply if the workers provide services to a single household. If the workers provide services to more than one household, the exceptions do not apply and the worker must comply with the order.

Workers may also be exempt from vaccination requirements due to intimate religious beliefs or qualifying medical reasons. Workers who believe they are covered by either of these exemptions must provide their employer with a declination form signed by the worker.

Requirements for unvaccinated workers

If a worker is exempt from vaccination requirements, either because of religious beliefs or qualifying medical reasons, the worker must comply with the following requirements:

  • Test for COVID-19 with PCR or antigen test once a week.
  • Wear a surgical mask or higher level respirator, such as an N95 filtering facepiece respirator, at all times in the facility or at home.

Record keeping

Employers of covered workers will be required to keep records of workers’ vaccination or exemption status. Employers must also keep records regarding worker testing for employees who are exempt from vaccination. These recordings must be kept confidential in accordance with applicable privacy laws and regulations.

Elizabeth H. Murphy and Reem blaik are attorneys for Jackson Lewis in Los Angeles. © 2021 Jackson Lewis. All rights reserved. Republished with permission.

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