Legislative Update: Week of August 23, 2021

Aug 23, 2021


Last week, Governor Baker issued a vaccine mandate, “requiring tens of thousands of state employees to prove they have been inoculated against COVID-19 by mid-October or risk being fired.” Workers may be entitled to exemptions due to medical disability or religious beliefs, but the “mandate applies to about 42,000 executive department employees and 2,000 contractors for executive department agencies, whether they are working in person or teleworking.” Additionally, on Friday, Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced a mask mandate for indoor public places in Boston that will go into effect on Friday, August 27. Applicable to everyone over the age of 2, the mandate will apply to businesses, clubs, places of assembly, or other locations open to the public, including: “retail outlets, restaurants, bars, performance venues, social clubs, event spaces, and municipal buildings.”


On Monday, the FDA granted full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, making the U.S. the first country to fully approve the shot.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) has announced its intent to submit a request to extend the MassHealth Section 1115 Demonstration to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) this fall.  MassHealth is requesting a five-year extension of its current 1115(a) demonstration, which is set to expire on June 30, 2022. EOHHS will host two public listening sessions (9/9 and 9/15) to hear public comments on the Request and will also accept written comments on the proposed Request through September 20, 2021. The proposed extension and additional relevant information are available here.

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