Federal Judge Denies Florida’s Motion on Vaccine Mandates

 

In an 11-page order released on Saturday, U.S District Judge M. Casey Rodgers rejected Florida’s motion to block a Biden administration rule that requires workers at hospitals and other health-care related facilities be vaccinated against COVID.

The decision was in response to a motion filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody seeking a preliminary injunction against the federal rule which takes effect December 6.

Moody’s argument contended that the requirement would increase health-care staffing shortages. However, Judge Rodgers concluded that Florida had shown “irreparable harm” to justify an injunction.

Rodgers wrote in the order, “On review of the record, the court finds no adequate showing that irreparable injury will occur in the absence of a TRO (temporary restraining order) or preliminary injunction prior to December 6, 2021. The affidavits (of state officials) in support of the motion include assertions of how the various agencies and institutions anticipate they may be adversely impacted by the mandate. In particular, the affidavits express opinions of agency heads who ‘estimate’ that they ‘may’ lose a certain percentage or a number of employees, or speculate as to the consequences they will suffer ‘if widespread resignations were to occur.’ However, such opinions, absent supporting factual evidence, remain speculative and may be disregarded as conclusory.”

The rule will impact hundreds of private hospitals, nursing homes and other health-care providers in Florida and industry officials have repeatedly noted concerns about staffing shortages.

In addition, there is concern that the health-care providers that are out of compliance could lose federal funds provided via the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

However, Judge Rodgers wrote, “there is no evidence to suggest that the anticipated loss of federal funding from the state agencies’ noncompliance will occur immediately on December 6, 2021, because the asserted loss of staff is speculative, the affidavits fail (to) take to into account any impact from the availability of the exemption process provided in the interim final rule, and even if noncompliance occurs, any potential termination of funding would not occur on December 6.”

This is not just a Florida issue.

Missouri and Nebraska led a coalition of ten states suing the administration over the vaccine mandate imposed on health care workers serving Medicare and Medicaid patients. The mandate, which impacts more than 17 million health-care workers, would be implemented through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“The police power over compulsory vaccination has always been the province of – and still properly belongs to – the States,” the 58-page complaint states. “Vaccination requirements are matters that depend on local factors and conditions. Whatever might make sense in New York City, St. Louis, or Omaha could be decidedly counterproductive and harmful in rural communities like Memphis, Missouri or McCook, Nebraska.”

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Steve Stewart is the Managing Editor and a contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

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