KGVO learned from the Montana Hospital Association on Wednesday that the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) newly released vaccination mandate has to possible methods for hospital employees to opt out.

KGVO spoke with Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen on Thursday and praised the fact that the Biden Administration’s OSHA vaccination mandate has been permanently blocked.

“This OSHA rule that the President gave a speech about clear back in August, we knew it was coming,” said Knudsen. “Montana and several other states prepared for it, and when that OSHA rule did finally come down, we filed suit. The bottom line is they overstepped their bounds. They were purporting to use a seldomly used OSHA rule that would have required two thirds of the workforce in the country to go through a mandated health procedure.”

Knudsen continued his comments on the OSHA ruling.

“If the president has the authority to snap his fingers and make a decision like that for the US economy, well, then what else can the President do?” he asked. “That really was the crux of the argument for me. But we got that enjoined at the Federal Court level. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals actually stepped in and wrote a very sharp criticism of the Biden administration. They granted our motion for an injunction. So that rule has been blocked.”

However, when KGVO mentioned the possible opt-out opportunities in the newly enacted CMS vaccination mandate, he said not to take those options for granted.

“I hope that's not just lip service,” he said. “If the way the federal government and the CMS has behaved lately is any indication, I'm not actually realistically thinking that they're going to let people get away with that. We've seen that from OSHA. We've seen that from some of these other federal agencies where they're just blanket denying those religious and health exemptions.”

Knudsen said his office has also filed an injunction against the CMS vaccination mandate.

“So the good news there, Peter, is that just two days ago now, my office filed lawsuits similar to the OSHA rule,” he said. “We filed a lawsuit in federal court over the CMS rule. We don't have anything from the court on that yet, but I'm optimistic. I think that the court is revealing that we're likely to get an injunction and a blocking of that rule too,  but as of right now, I don't have any updates on that, and it has not happened yet.”

KGVO has reached out to Missoula’s St. Patrick Hospital on the CMS mandate, but has not yet received a reply.

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