Governor’s Legal Action Leads to Pause in Federal Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers

Gov 11-30-21

Governor Mark Gordon welcomed a preliminary injunction issued today by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri that halts implementation and enforcement of a rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would impose a vaccine mandate on healthcare workers. Governor Gordon and Attorney General Bridget Hill entered Wyoming in this lawsuit, challenging the federal mandate. 

“This is welcome news for Wyoming’s rural healthcare facilities, which are already facing staffing challenges without additional unconstitutional burdens being placed on their employees by the federal government,” Governor Gordon said. “Healthcare employees should not be forced to choose between vaccination and termination.” 

The proposed mandate required nearly every employee, volunteer, and and contractor working at a wide range of healthcare facilities receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding to have received at least a first dose of the vaccine prior to December 6, 2021.

In its ruling, the court agreed to preliminarily enjoin implementation and enforcement of the rule because arguments made by Wyoming and a coalition of other states have a likelihood of success on the merits. Wyoming and the coalition have argued that CMS does not have authority to issue the mandate, and that it would impact the ability of healthcare facilities to effectively care for patients.

“Because it is evident CMS significantly understates the burden that its mandate would impose on the ability of healthcare facilities to provide proper care, and thus, save lives, the public has an interest in maintaining the ‘status quo’ while the merits of the case are determined,” wrote the court. 

The ruling applies only to the 10-state coalition that, along with Wyoming, includes Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire. Today’s ruling is a victory for Wyoming and these states, but the case is not over. The Governor and Attorney General will continue their efforts to challenge the mandate through this lawsuit.  

A copy of the order granting the Motion for Preliminary Injunction may be found here

Wyoming is taking a three-pronged approach to fighting the federal vaccine mandates, filing three separate legal actions to challenge this federal overreach. These include:

  • Filing a lawsuit against the Biden Administration for imposing a vaccine mandate on federal contractors and federally contracted employees. Wyoming is currently awaiting a ruling on a request for a temporary injunction in the case. 
  • Filing a second lawsuit to halt the Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency temporary standard which mandates vaccines on employees of private Wyoming businesses with over 100 employees. This also resulted in a pause on the implementation of the ETS. 
  • The legal action involving CMS, which seeks to prevent the Biden Administration from enforcing the mandate on healthcare workers. This is what the court stayed today.