Contact Debra Harmon Zehr at 785.233.7443 

LeadingAge Kansas Applauds Attorney General Derek Schmidt for Signing onto a Lawsuit Challenging a Federal Vaccination Mandate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

TOPEKA, Kan – LeadingAge Kansas, an association of nearly 160 nonprofit aging services providers applauds the efforts of Attorney General Derek Schmidt on his opposition to the healthcare worker and large employer vaccine mandate. The mandates create critical staff shortages for long-term care providers that hinder their ability to care for older people.

“While we believe vaccinations are important to curb the spread of COVID, broad sweeping federal mandates such as these cripple an already broken system that has experienced years of workforce shortages”, states Debra Hamon Zehr, LeadingAge Kansas President/CEO.  If the mandate is allowed to stand, we will see closures of stand-alone nursing homes, home health providers and other aging services resulting in fewer quality options for Kansas seniors to receive care.”

The CMS mandate allows for medical and religious exemptions but puts the responsibility of policing these exemptions on the healthcare provider putting them at additional legal risk.

Attorney General Schmidt recently signed onto a Missouri-led lawsuit which challenges the constitutionality of the mandate.

According to the Topeka Capital Journal, the lawsuit also warns that the mandate "threatens to exacerbate an alarming shortage of healthcare workers, particularly in rural communities." Schmidt encouraged people to get vaccinated, but echoed those concerns in his statement on the lawsuit, suggesting that some facilities may "close due to an inability to hire sufficient staff."

"Kansas healthcare facilities and their employees are already facing hardships due to the stresses of the pandemic and the current labor shortage," he said.

“Thank you, Attorney General Schmidt for challenging a difficult rule that is unprecedented in CMS history”, states Zehr. “we hope the lawsuit is successful and prevents providers from closing.”


LeadingAge Kansas is an association of 160 not-for-profit aging services providers dedicated to serving the needs of aging Kansans. We advance policies, promote practices and learning that empowers our members to help seniors live fully as they age. Our members serve nearly 25,000 seniors in Kansas each day. Learn more at