What the U.S. Supreme Court’s Vaccination & Testing Ruling Means for Tribal Systems

Last week, the Supreme Court blocked OSHA’s vaccine and testing requirement (ETS), aimed at large businesses of 100 or more employees. However, the ruling did allow a vaccine mandate for all health care workers employed at health centers regulated by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The CMS vaccine requirement therefore expressly applies to all Indian Health Service employees, and any other provider that participates in Medicare or Medicaid programs.

Accordingly, the CMS IFR applies to all workers regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact at Medicare-certified Tribal health care facilities that operate under an ISDEAA compact/contract.

Although this ruling is not binding under further appeals, it is likely to influence the final decision. Equally important, the requirement is set to expire six months after issuance (May 5, 2022). Depending on the briefing and argument schedule, the final ruling may not be issued before the requirement expires, leaving the vaccine requirement in place through May.

While the ruling is still undergoing a commentary period, and the requirement could be narrowed through OSHA’s discretion, it is likely that the vaccine requirement will stay in place for all Tribal health workers at facilities participating in Medicare or Medicaid programs.

Blue Stone Strategy Partners is here to support your organization. Please contact us today for any guidance and support you may need for your Human Resources teams, and what these rulings mean for your system.


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