Vaccination Expectations for Surveyors Performing Federal Oversight

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued memo QSO-22-10-ALL to all State Survey Agency Directors, requiring onsite surveyors – including CLIA and Life Safety surveyors – to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have an acceptable medical or religious exemption.  Surveyors who are not fully vaccinated should not participate as part of the onsite survey team performing federal oversight of certified providers and suppliers (including accreditation surveys performed under an AO’s deeming authority).

For surveyors with an accepted exemption, they must take extra precautions while onsite during survey “as determined and documented by the state (such as mandatory testing, limitation to conducting survey activities that limit patient/resident contact such as record review, limitation to conducting offsite activities, or re-assignment or work modification).” All surveyors are expected to use appropriate PPE while surveying.   ​​

State Survey Agencies are responsible for compliance with this expectation. Therefore, certified providers and suppliers are still not permitted to ask surveyors for proof of their vaccination status as a precondition for entry.

CMS is not mandating that asking any question is impermissible; however, the response or non-response to those inquiries is not grounds for a facility to deny nor delay the surveyor’s entry.  The states will be responsible for determining what additional precautions may be necessary for unvaccinated surveyors.

Posted in COVID-19