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STATEWIDE — Nursing homes get federal funding through Medicare and Medicaid, but that funding could be cut off if nursing home workers refuse to get vaccinated.

Under the Biden administration, federal health authorities have threatened to take away Medicare and Medicaid funding from nursing homes if all workers are not fully vaccinated. It’s a regulation that could take effect this month.

“It’s been devastating in nursing homes,” said Dr. Kathleen Unroe, a research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute, to WISH-TV. “But, the vaccines have provided so much hope to all of us.”

“The number of infections and mortality were so high for so long,” she added. “And then, once the vaccinations were available, we’ve seen mortality rates fall. Now, we’re in a situation where we’re seeing additional outbreaks.”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says over 130,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19, which accounts for about a quarter of the total pandemic deaths nationwide.

Though many medical experts see the mandate as a positive step in fighting the pandemic, for people who run nursing homes it’s created a bit of a quandary.

With the number of workers already stretched thin at some nursing homes, some line Unroe thinks it may push workers to quit their jobs if they mandate vaccines. This could have an adverse effect and could make where there are not enough workers to take care of nursing home residents.