By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt still doesn't have the language of the rule proposed by President Joe Biden earlier this month that would give employers with over 100 employees the choice to vaccinate or frequently test their employees for COVID-19.
"Those rules have not been published yet and so we continue to wait," Schmidt said. "We have to see them before we have a chance to evaluate their legality, which I think is suspect on its face and then decide how we're going to challenge them."
Schmidt notes that the legal ground is different for some of the other potential mandates from the administration.
"There's the so-called CMS mandate, the mandate for nursing home workers and for public health workers," Schmidt said. "We're in the process with some other states of really taking a hard look at those to see if there's a legal basis to challenge them. They're a little legally different from the general employer mandate. The analysis is a bit different. The bottom line, I was talking with some folks the other day who operate nursing facilities, long-term care facilities in Kansas and they said they are losing employees."
According to a survey from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living, 86 percent of nursing homes and 77 percent of assisted living providers said their workforce situation has gotten worse over the last three months.
"At the end of the day, we have a number of facilities that barely are hanging on as it is," Schmidt said. "They have trouble getting employees. The last thing we need is a federal mandate that puts long-term care facilities out of business in this state."
Only one percent of nursing homes nationally describe themselves as fully staffed.