Florida appeals to ban COVID-19 vaccine requirements in healthcare settings
Tallahassee Florida. Florida launched an appeal after a federal judge rejected a request to block the Biden administration’s requirement to vaccinate workers in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers against COVID-19.
On Tuesday, the office of Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a notification to refer the case to the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals. The move came after U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers on Saturday denied a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order against the vaccination requirement.
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Besides filing the appeal notice, Moody’s office Tuesday asked Rodgers to issue an emergency injunction against the vaccination requirement while the Atlanta Court of Appeals hears the case. State attorneys maintain that the vaccination requirement, set to take effect on December 6, would cause “irreparable harm,” including exacerbating a shortage of health care staff.
“What matters is that, on December 6, Florida facilities will need to make an impossible decision: fire unvaccinated employees or risk defying federal law and suffering the consequences,” reads a motion issued Tuesday for an emergency injunction.
Moody’s office filed the suit on November 17 and sought an injunction or temporary restraining order against the vaccination rule, which was issued this month by the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The rule applies to hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers who participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Under the rule, health care workers are required to receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by December 6, and be fully vaccinated by January 4, with limited exceptions for medical and religious reasons.
Rodgers, who was appointed to the federal platform by former Republican President George W. Bush, wrote in Saturday’s ruling that Florida had not shown “irreparable harm” to justify an injunction or temporary restraining order. In part, the state has claimed that the law will affect state-run facilities, such as veterans’ nursing homes.
“In reviewing the record, the court found that there was insufficient evidence that irreparable damage would occur in the absence of a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) or preliminary injunction prior to December 6, 2021,” Rodgers wrote. Testimonies (from state officials) in support of the proposal include assurances about how the various agencies and organizations anticipate that they may be adversely affected by the state. In particular, the testimonies express the opinions of agency heads who “estimate” that they “might” lose a certain percentage or number of staff, or speculate about the consequences they would suffer “if large-scale resignations occur.” However, such opinions, in the absence of supporting factual evidence, remain speculative and may be discarded as definitive.”
In the lawsuit, Moody’s office alleges that the federal agency known as CMS exceeded its statutory authority in issuing the requirement and did not follow appropriate procedures, such as consulting with states and serving the notice. Also, the lawsuit maintains that the requirement is “arbitrary and capricious.” Much of the lawsuit is based on alleged violations of the Federal Administrative Procedure Code.
As is common knowledge, Tuesday’s notice of appeal does not detail the arguments the state will make in an effort to persuade the Court of Appeals to overturn Rodgers’ decision on Saturday.
But in Rodgers’ request for an emergency injunction while the appeal was being launched, the state argued that the vaccination requirement was already causing irreparable harm. The proposal referred to a law passed during a special legislative session last week aimed at preventing workers from being required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The proposal said that “the federal mandate is intended to preempt state laws that prevent employers from requiring employees to undergo vaccination, and Florida officials must violate these state laws to comply with the mandate.”
The movement also said the damages “will occur, at the latest, on December 6, when facilities, including facilities owned and operated by Florida, must decide between compliance with Florida law or compliance with the mandate.” “And in fact, it will happen even earlier because Florida facilities must arrange to be compliant with the mandate by December 6.”
Because it only dealt with the state’s application for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order, Rodgers’ ruling on Saturday did not end the lawsuit. Also, at least one other objection has been made by states to health care vaccination requirements. Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire joined together on November 10 to file a lawsuit in federal court in Missouri.
The vaccination requirement is set to affect hundreds of private hospitals, nursing homes and other providers in Florida, as well as state agencies that provide health care services. State and industry officials have repeatedly pointed to concerns about staff shortages.
While the federal government didn’t present arguments until Wednesday morning in the Florida case, on Monday it presented a 66-page document in Missouri that points to evidence that vaccinated people in health care settings are less likely to contract and transmit COVID-19. to others.
“The Secretary (Department of) Health and Human Services (which includes CMS) reviewed this evidence and concluded that there is an urgent need for action to protect Medicare and Medicaid recipients from the possibility of contracting the virus while receiving care in those programs funded,” Department of Justice attorneys wrote. American. “Congress has assigned the Secretary a statutory responsibility to ensure that the health and safety of patients in these federally funded facilities is protected. Accordingly it has issued a rule to do so.”