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15 Sep

September 2021 Colorado HR Legal Updates

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COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate Issued in Colorado

Update Applicable to:

Colorado employers in healthcare settings.

What happened?

On August 30, 2021, the Colorado Board of Health (BoH) enacted an emergency rule for COVID-19 vaccination requirements to employees in healthcare settings due to a request from Governor Jared Polis.

What are the details?

The Rule, effective immediately, requires all staff in incensed healthcare settings to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 30, 2021 and be fully vaccinated by October 31, 2021. All covered employees are also required to obtain a subsequent, or booster, dose of the COVID-19 vaccination should one be recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthcare facilities are also required to hire only fully vaccinated workers after October 31, 2021.

The Rule applies to employees in the following healthcare facilities:

  • Acute treatment units
  • Ambulatory surgical centers
  • Assisted living residences
  • Behavioral health entities
  • Birth centers
  • Community clinics
  • Community clinics with emergency centers, mental health centers, or integrated healthcare services agencies
  • Dialysis treatment clinics
  • Freestanding emergency departments
  • Home care agencies and placement agencies
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals (general, rehabilitation, psychiatric, and hospital units)
  • Facilities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (group homes and intermediate care facilities)
  • Nursing homes

Employees, direct contractors, and support staff of these facilities are required to comply with the vaccine mandate if they have “potential for exposure to clients of the facility or agency and/or to infectious materials, including bodily substances, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, contaminated environmental surfaces, or contaminated air.” The mandate does not apply to individual healthcare practitioners or staff, or settings where patients seek medical care, including primary care offices and urgent care locations.

The Rule additionally mandates that covered entities develop and implement a vaccination policy and procedure that complies with the rule. In addition to mandating that all covered employees and new hires be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by the dates set forth above, with the document including their minimum guidelines.

Covered entities must also maintain records of proof of employees’ immunization, as well as documentation stating if an employee is exempt from the vaccine mandate due to a qualifying medical or religious exemption. The rule specifically defines what kind of documentation would qualify an employee for a medical exemption.

Additionally, beginning October 1, each facility or agency must report its COVID-19 vaccination rate to the Board on the 1st and 15th day of each month. Information reported to the Board under the rule’s reporting obligation will be made publicly available on the Board’s website.

The emergency rule can be read here.

The notice from the BoH can be read here.

The letter from the Governor can be read here.

An article on the rule can be read here.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the emergency rule and their current vaccination policies to make any applicable changes and additions to stay in compliance with the new rule’s vaccination standard and timeline.